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3 V 

CI. No. O WW ^b ^ 

Ac. No. ^JCMW ? n*e. 

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I 907- I 94 I 

edited by 

E*IV€ ... €1 Tl TOt Ik plpkutV 

Jj\0(v c/tcuv o^cAo?, Entioov . . . , 


24 Russell Square 


First published in mcmli 

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l 9 


3 1 




1. To Felix E. Schelling 

16 January 



2. To William Carlos Williams 

21 October 

3 6 


3. To William Carlos Williams 

3 February 


4. To William Carlos Williams 

21 May 



5. To Harriet Monroe 

(18) August 


6. To Harriet Monroe 

(24) September 


7. To Harriet Monroe 



8. To Harriet Monroe 

13 October 


9. To Harriet Monroe 

22 October 


10. To Harriet Monroe 




11. To Homer L. Pound 



12. To Alice Corbin Henderson 



13. To Harriet Monroe 



14. To Harriet Monroe 



15. To Harriet Monroe 



16. To Harriet Monroe 

30 March 


17. To Harriet Monroe 

22 April 


18. To Isabel W. Pound 



19. To Harriet Monroe 



20. To Homer L. Pound 

3 June 


21. To Harriet Monroe 

13 August 


22. To Harriet Monroe 

13 August 


23. To Harriet Monroe 

23 September 


24. To Harriet Monroe 




25. To Alice Corbin Henderson 

26. To Amy Lowell 

27. To Harriet Monroe 

28. To Isabel W. Pound 

29. To Amy Lowell 

30. To Harriet Monroe 

31. To William Carlos Williams 

32. To Isabel W. Pound 


33. To Amy Lowell 

34. To Isabel W. Pound 

35. To Harriet Monroe 

36. To Harriet Monroe 

37. To Amy Lowell 

38. To Amy Lowell 

39. To Amy Lowell 

40. To Amy Lowell 

41. To Amy Lowell 

42. To Harriet Monroe 

43. To Harriet Monroe 

44. To Amy Lowell 

45. To Harriet Monroe 

46. To Amy Lowell 

47. To Amy Lowell 

48. To Amy Lowell 

49. To Douglas Goldring 

50. To Harriet Monroe 

51. To Amy Lowell 

52. To H. L. Mencken 

53. To Harriet Monroe 

54. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

55. To Harriet Monroe 

56. To Amy Lowell 

57. To Harriet Monroe 

58. To Harriet Monroe 


7 November 

26 November 

8 December 

19 December 
24 December 

8 January 

20 January 
31 January 

2 February 
23 February 

11 March 
18 March 
23 March 
28 March 

30 April 
23 May 

<?i3> J^y 

1 August 

12 August 

18 September 
30 September 

2 October 

3 October 

12 October 
12 October 

19 October 

9 November 
9 November 








59. To Harriet Monroe 

60. To Harriet Monroe 
(Si f To Harriet Monroe 



31 January 



62. To H. L. Mencken 

63. To John Quinn 

64. To Harriet Monroe 

65. To H. L. Mencken 

66. To Harriet Monroe 

67. To H. L. Mencken 

68. To Harriet Monroe 

69. To H. L. Mencken 

70. To Harriet Monroe 

71. To Felix E. Schelling 

72. To Harriet Monroe 

73. To the Editor of the Boston Transcript 

74. To Harriet Monroe 

75. To Harriet Monroe 

76. To Harriet Monroe 

77. To Douglas Goldring 

78. To Harriet Monroe 


79. To Harriet Monroe 

80. To Harriet Monroe 

81. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

82. To Harriet Monroe 

83. To Harriet Monroe 

84. To Kate Buss 

85. To John Quinn 

86. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

87. To Wyndham Lewis 

88. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

89. To Iris Barry 

90. To Harriet Monroe 

91. To Iris Barry 

92. To Iris Barry 

93. To Iris Barry 

94. To Harriet Monroe 

95. To Iris Barry 

96. To Wyndham Lewis 

97. To Wyndham Lewis 

98. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

99. To Iris Barry 

100. To Wyndham Lewis 

18 February 
8 March 


17 March 
10 April 

18 April 
(?25> April 

2 May 
17 May 
25 September 
2 October 
12 October 
(?22) November 
1 December 

21 January 
(February ) 
5 March 
9 March 
10 March 
17 March 
30 March 
17 April 
21 April 
24 April 
2 May 
5 June 
24 June 
28 June 

12 July 

13 July 







U 2 


01. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 


To Iris 

5 Barry 


To Iris 

> Barry 


To Iris 

j Barry 


To Iris 

; Barry 


To Iris 

» Barry 


To Iris 

> Barry 


To Iris 

» Barry 


To Iris 

> Barry 


To Iris 

> Barry 


To H. L. Mencken 

12. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

13. To Felix E. Schelling 


14. To Kate Buss 

15. To John Quinn 

16. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

17. To John Quinn 

18. To Iris Barry 

19. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

20. To Margaret C. Anderson 

21. To Alice Corbin Henderson 

22. To John Quinn 

23. To Harriet Monroe 

24. To Margaret C. Anderson 

25. To Edgar Jepson 

26. To Margaret C. Anderson 

27. To Margaret C. Anderson 

28. To H. L. Mencken 

29. To John Quinn 

30. To Harriet Monroe 

31. To Wyndham Lewis 

32. To Harriet Monroe 

33. To Margaret C. Anderson 

34. To Amy Lowell 

35. To Margaret C. Anderson 

36. To Edgar Jepson 

37. To William Carlos Williams 

38. To H. L. Mencken 

39. To Harriet Monroe 

19 July 

1 3 <S 

<?*>> July 


27 July 




24 August 




29 August 




11 September 


22 September 


27 September 


14 November 


17 November 


4 January 


10 January 


22 January 


24 January 


25 January 


30 January 


(? January) 




18 April 


24 April 


(ca. May) 


29 May 




(? August) 


12 August 


21 August 


21 August 


25 August 


26 August 


(?30 August) 


30 August 




7 September 


10 November 


28 November 


29 November 





140. To Margaret C. Anderson 




141. To Harriet Monroe 

1 January 


142. To Margaret C. Anderson 

(? January) 


143. To Wyndham Lewis 

13 January 


144. To Margaret C. Anderson 

(? January) 


145. To H. L. Mencken 

25 January 


146. To John Quinn 

29 January 


147. To Margaret C. Anderson 



148. To H. L. Mencken 

12 March 


149. To John Quinn 

3 April 


150. To Margaret C. Anderson 

(? April) 


151. To Edgar Jepson 



152. To Edgar Jepson 

23 May 


153. To John Quinn 

4 June 


154. To John Quinn 

15 November 


155. To Marianne Moore 

16 December 


156. To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

17 December 



157. To William Carlos Williams 

28 January 


158. To H. L. Mencken 

<? January) 


159. To Marianne Moore 

1 February 


160. To A. R. Orage 

(? April) 


161. To John Quinn 

25 October 



162. To T. E. Lawrence 

20 April 


163. To John Quinn 

19 June 


164. To James Joyce 



165. To Hugh Walpole 

30 June 


166. To James Joyce 



167. To T. E. Lawrence 



168. To James Joyce 

2 August 


169. To James Joyce 

1 September 


170. To William Carlos Williams 

11 September 


171. To William Carlos Williams 

11 September 


17*- To William Carlos Williams 

12 September 


I73« To Agnes Bedford 







1 92 1 

174. To William Carlos Williams 

2 February 


175. To Marianne Moore 

24 March 


176. To Agnes Bedford 



177. To Wyndham Lewis 

27 April 


178. To Agnes Bedford 



179. To Marianne Moore 



180. To Agnes Bedford 



181. To T. S. Eliot 

24 December 


182. From T. S. Eliot 

<? January) 


183. To T. S. Eliot 



184. To Amy Lowell 

10 March 

2 37 

185. To William Carlos Williams 

18 March 


186. To H. L. Mencken 

22 March 


187. To Kate Buss 

?23 March 


188. To Wyndham Lewis 

5 April 


189. To William Carlos Williams 

4 May 


190. To Felix E. Schelling 

8 July 

2 45 

191. To Harriet Monroe 

16 July 


192. To Amy Lowell 

19 July 


193. To William Carlos Williams 

(1 August) 



194. To James Joyce 

16 January 


195. To William Carlos Williams 

9 February 


196. To Kate Buss 

12 May 


197. To William Bird 




198. To William Bird 

10 April 


199. To William Bird 

17 April 


200. To William Bird 

7 May 


201. To William Bird 



202. To R. P. Blackmur 

30 November 


203. To Wyndham Lewis 

3 December 


204. To William Bird 

26 December 







205. To James Joyce 

21 January 


206. To William Bird 

25 January 


207. To Simon Guggenheim 

24 February 


208. To H. L. Mencken 



209. To R. P. Blackmur 

26 March 


210. To William Bird 

18 August 


211. To William Bird 

24 August 

2 73 

212. To William Bird 

11 November 



213. To E. E. Cummings 

10 November 


214. To James Joyce 

15 November 


215. To Harriet Monroe 

15 November 


216. To James Joyce 

19 November 


217. To Harriet Monroe 

30 November 


218. To James Joyce 

25 December 


219. To James Joyce 

25 December 



220. To James Joyce 

2 January 


221. To Sisley Huddleston 

13 February 


222. To William Bird 

4 March 


223. To Harriet Monroe 

23 March 


224. To Homer L. Pound 

11 April 


225. To H. L. Mencken 

27 April 


226. To Harriet Monroe 

24 September 


227. To Glenn Hughes 

26 September 


228. To James S. Watson, Jr. 

20 October 


229. To Glenn Hughes 

9 November 


230. To Harriet Monroe 

29 December 



231. To Rene' Taupin 



232. To H. L. Mencken 

3 September 

2 95 

233. To James Vogel 

21 November 


234. To James Joyce 

23 December 


235. To Harriet Monroe 

30 December 





236. To James Vogel 

23 January 


237. To Charles Henri Ford 

1 February 


238. To the Alumni Secretary of the Univ. of 


20 April 


239. To John Scheiwiller 

26 November 


240. To William Carlos Williams 

2 December 


241. To Agnes Bedford 




242. To William Carlos Williams 

16 January 


243. To E. E. Cummings 

17 February 


244. To E. E. Cummings 

25 March 


245. To Harriet Monroe 

24 October 


246. To William Carlos Williams 

22 November 



247. To Harriet Monroe 



248. To the Editor of the English Journal 

24 January 


249. To Harriet Monroe 

27 March 


250. To Lincoln Kirstein 



251. To Harriet Monroe 

6 October 


2 j 2. To H. B. Lathrop 

16 December 


253. To Harriet Monroe 

27 December 



254. To John Drummond 

18 February 


255. To John Drummond 

18 February 


256. To Langston Hughes 

18 June 


257. To John Drummond 

3 December 


258. To Harriet Monroe 

9 December 



259. To William Bird 

15 January 


260. To William Rose Benet 

23 January 


261. To E. E. Cummings 

6 April 


262. To Agnes Bedford 



263. To John Drummond 

4 May 


264. To Harriet Monroe 

14 September 


265. To T. C. Wilson 

24 September 


266. To Mary Barnard 

29 October 




267, To T. C. Wilson 

268. To William P. Shepard 


269. To 

270. To 

271. To 

272. To 

273. To 

274. To 

275. To 

276. To 

277. To 

278. To 

279. To 

280. To 

281. To 

282. To 

283. To 

284. To 

285. To 


286. To 

287. To 

288. To 

289. To 

290. To 

291. To 

292. To 

293. To 

294. To 

295. To 

296. To 

297. To 

298. To 

299. To 

300. To 

301. To 

302. To 

303. To 

T. C. Wilson 

Sarah Perkins Cope 

Laurence Binyon 

Mary Barnard 

Robert McAlmon 

T. C. Wilson 

Mary Barnard 

the Princesse Edmond de Polignac 

Laurence Binyon 

Felix E. Schelling 

Sarah Perkins Cope 

John Drummond 

Mary Barnard 

Mary Barnard 

Laurence Binyon 

Mary Barnard 

W. H. D. Rouse 

Henry Swabey 
E. E. Cummings 
C. K. Ogden 
Arnold Gingrich 
C. K. Ogden 
W. H. D. Rouse 
E. E. Cummings 
W. H. D. Rouse 
Henry Swabey 
W. H. D. Rouse 
T. S. Eliot 
W. H. D. Rouse 
W. H. D. Rouse 
W. H. D. Rouse 
W. H. D. Rouse 
Harriet Monroe 
John Cournos 
Basil Bunting 


30 October 
23 November 

7 January 
15 January 

21 January 

22 January 
2 February 

23 February 

6 March 
22 April 
30 May 
13 August 
13 August 
30 August 
18 December 
30 December 

24 January 

25 January 
28 January 
30 January 

7 February 

22 February 

3 March 

18 March 

28 March 

17 April 


23 May 
6 June 

13 August 
25 September 














W 6 

304. To James Laughlin 

305. To Henry Swabey 

306. To Joseph Gordon MacLeod 
►307. To T. S. Eliot 

.308. To T. S. Eliot 

309. To Laurence Pollinger 

310. To Katue Kitasono 

311. To Tibor Serly 

312. To Eric Mesterton 

313. To Gerhart Munch 

314. To Agnes Bedford 

315. To Henry Swabey 

<?5 > January 
26 March 
28 March 

25 April 

26 April 

24 May 


19 December 



"3 1 6. 

3 X 7. 












T. T. S. Eliot 

To H. L. Mencken 

To Ronald Duncan 

To W. H. D. Rouse 

To F. V. Morley 

To Laurence Pollinger 

To F. V. Morley 

To Laurence Pollinger 

To Henry Swabey 

To Ronald Duncan 

To Hilaire Hiler 

To Katue Kitasono 

To John Lackay Brown 

To F. V. Morley 

To W. H. D. Rouse 

To Michael Roberts 

To Katue Kitasono 

To W. H. D. Rouse 

To W. H. D. Rouse 

To Gerald Hayes 

To Montgomery Butchart 

To M. Butchart and R. Duncan 

To T. S. Eliot 


339. To Carlo Izzo 

24 January 
27 January 

22 February 
10 March 

10 March 

11 March 

9 May 


23 October 
30 October 

4 November 
30 November 
11 December 
11 December 
14 December 

8 January 










3 8< 







340. To 

341. To 

342. To 
.343. To 

344. To 

345. To 

346. To 

347. To 

348. To 

349. To 

350. To 

351. To 


352. To 

353. To 

354. To 

355. To 

356. To 

357. To 

358. To 

359. To 

360. To 

361. To 

362. To 
♦363. To 

364. To 

365. To 


366. To 

367. To 
^368. To 

369. To 

„370. To 

371. To 

72, To 

373. To 

374- To 

375- To 
376. To 


Otto Bird 

9 January 


Ronald Duncan 

17 March 


James Taylor Dunn 

12 April 


T. S. Eliot 

16 April 


Laurence Binyon 

22 April 


Laurence Binyon 

25 April 


William P. Shepard 



Laurence Binyon 

4 May 


Laurence Binyon 

6 May 


Laurence Binyon 

8 May 


Laurence Binyon 

12 May 


Katue Kitasono 

10 December 


Ronald Duncan 

io January 


Ronald Duncan 

17 January 


Ford Madox Ford 

31 January 


Hubert Creekmore 



Wyndham Lewis 

3 August 


Ronald Duncan 

6 August 


Henry Swabey 

2 September 


Douglas McPherson 

2 September 


Tibor and Alice Serly 



Henry Swabey 

31 October 


Douglas McPherson 

3 November 


A. B. Drew 

7 November 


Ronald Duncan 

7 November 


George Santayana 

8 December 


Otto Bird 

12 January 


George Santayana 

16 January 


T. S. Eliot 

18 January 


Katue Kitasono 

22 January 


T. S. Eliot 

1 February 


H. G. Wells 

3 February 


George Santayana 

<5 February 


Henry Swabey 

7 March 


Ronald Duncan 

14 March 


Sadakichi Hartmann 

20 March 


Ronald Duncan 

30 March 




377. To Ronald Duncan 

378. To Tibor Serly 

379. To Henry Swabey 

380. To Henry Swabey 

381. To Katue Kitasono 

382. To Katue Kitasono 

383. To Katue Kitasono 

31 March 
20 April 
9 May 
29 October 
15 November 
22 November 




384. To Katue Kitasono 


12 March 




If ^Pouncfc had any reputation as a letter-writer before 191 5, and he 
probably had, it was a private reputation amongst $ii$) friends. When in 
that year Harriet Monroe printed a few of his letters in Poetry (Chicago) 
as hints to youthful talents, she made public another aspect of his genius. 
His correspondence immediately began to acquire, deviously and, as it 
were, subterraneously, an enviable reputation. It grew alike privately 
and publicly, fed in the former instance by the passing about of letters 
and in the latter by their scrappy publication in literary magazines, until 
it became for about five years nearly as well-established as his legitimate 

But as Pound's interest in those magazines waned or became diverted 
and the editors no longer received letters to print in their back pages 
under ' Correspondence', the public part of that fame came, in the years 
immediately following, almost to be forgotten. As for the private part: 
he lost interest in certain of the young with whom he had corresponded 
prior to 1920; and he moved to Paris. There the post-war young American 
or Briton sought him out in person rather than by letter. And the scope 
of his correspondence fell off thereby. 

When T. S. Eliot wrote of him in the January 1928 number of The 
Dial 'His epistolary style is masterly', the statement was almost a revela- 
tion to a later generation. A few years afterwards, Margaret Anderson, 
one of the editors of The Little Review, published her autobiography. 
She remarked that Pound's letters, flowing torrentially from London, 
bearing blasts and blesses as startling as those in BLAST 'and accompany- 
ing the manuscripts of Eliot, Lewis, and Joyce, might themselves have 
filled an exciting number of the magazine. As earnest whereof she printed 
about a dozen of them. They bore out her statement and Eliot's as well. 
Such meagre evidences — to which one must add those letters which Miss 
Monroe printed in her autobiography — were about all that appeared in 

But Pound's really firm and unshakeable epistolary eminence came less 
from the printed letters, one suspects, than from the direct reading of the 
originals. After he settled in Rapallo, his private correspondence became, 
in fact, public in extent as it had always been in interest. By the thirties 
it had taken .on Napoleonic proportions anihe began to keep a file of 
carbon copies of his letters — ' otherwise I couldn't remember what I wrote 
to this or that bloke*. And the list of correspondents was indeed various, 



for in addition to letters from old friends and contemporaries there came, 
for the most part unsought, letters from instructors of history, from 
diplomatic officials, from classical scholars, from politicians, from pro- 
fessors of economics — from those of them, that is, who wanted frank 
speaking along lines of unofficial thought. 

Above all, letters arrived from 'les jeunes' — as he never tired of calling 
them — from batch after batch of them. Fifteen and twenty years after 
those great days when he got himself, Eliot, Lewis, and Joyce into the 
pages of a single magazine, each succeeding generation still considered 
him as one of them, with, perhaps, a slight edge of experience, and still 
sought him out. From as far off as Japan ! The tone of his prose criticism, 
\$th its coruscations, its ellipses, its dogmatisms, its gay carnival air, its 
unwillingness to enjoy the safety gravity offers, its violence against en- 
trenched stupidity and its championings of fresh writers — all that simply 
encouraged them to approach him. A tremendous lure ! 

A little magazine was to be started in Nebraska or London? It had to 
have Pound's co-operation, or at least his blessing. Forthwith a letter 
to Rapallo. One disagreed with the lists in 'How to Read'? A letter to 
Rapallo. One had written a forty-page poem which no editor wished to 
print? A letter to Rapallo. Under such circumstances, given certain tastes, 
desires, and perceptions, it became difficult not to meet someone who 
corresponded with Pound. He wrote, one formed the impression, to 

Consequently you would one day meet a young man who had received 
a letter from Pound or possibly had borrowed it from a friend of the 
recipient. He would show a largish, square-shaped envelope, addressed in 
blue ink with a sputtering pen and with a small blue stamp in the corner. 
You would extract the sheets, unfold them. At the top framed in a heavy 
rectangle, the Gaudier sketch of Pound. And then, as highly individual as 
another person's hand might be, two or three pages of typewriting, with 
marginal interpolations in pen. The letter might begin: 'Dear F/ Yrz/ to 
hand. Partly horse sense an' pawtly nuts.' And then continue with a 
distinction between the ownership of the means of production and the 
proper distribution of the fruits thereof, the whole being, perhaps, an 
exhortation to a leftist to consider the ideas of Douglas and Gesell as 
implements to Communism. Scattered through the letter might be scraps 
of literary advice: 'If you are nuwelizing, read H/J// Learn how to do 
it/ or one way of doing it// No excuse for iggorunce.' Or: 'Poetical 
prose??? Hell// The great writing in either p or p consists in getting the 
subject matter onto paper with the fewest possible folderols and anti- 
macassars. When the matter isn't real, no amount of ornament will save 



it. The inner structure is the poetry. And the prose-poetry stunt is 
merely soup/ lacking the rhythmic validity of verse. (By which I don't 
mean the cuckoo-clock of traditional British metric.) Great writer (Hardy) 
has forgotten he exists. Got his mind on what he is telling.' 

All of which was nothing like one's previous experience of letters. I do 
not mean in the abbreviations, the deliberate misspellings, the capitaliza- 
tions and the use of slanted lines for much of his punctuation. One recol- 
lects that at the time diey scarcely bothered one; one was too interested in 
what he was saying. Pound scattered such dicta with incredible profusion, 
in letter after letter, with no apparent exhaustion of idea or of 'the glitter- 
ing phrase' to contain it. The impression may be incorrect, yet one holds 
it firmly, that it would be difficult to find more than two dozen pages of 
Keats's or Shelley's or Swift's correspondence that would have any other 
than biographical interest. The same seems true of Byron's letters; but 
those, in their racy informality of style and their brusque changes of 
subject, bear some resemblance to Pound's. But that is as close as one 
can come to congeners. The simple fact remains that Pound's letters are , 

He came, a sort of flaming Savonarola, into a literary world which, as 
Wyndham Lewis has pointed out, preferred brilliant amateurism to a 
professional concern for the arts. Pound saw the dangers to perfection 
inherent in such an attitude. To him art was not something one could 
practise a certain number of hours a day, with Saturdays and Sundays 
4 off'. Art was instead a kind of life, a life which kept one's ' private life', in 
the most ordinary sense, to a minimum. 

This attitude is clear throughout his letters. He very rarely writes 
gossip or sends news of himself. As one goes through thousands of pages 
of letters, one remains impressed instead by his sustained devotion — I was 
about to say to art — to humanity. He justly believed that humanity 
deserved the best — in art, in ethics, in an economic system that would 
insure the just distribution of goods. It was kept from the best by a few 
simians who maintained themselves in offices of power only because the 
really first-rate men had not concerned themselves with approaching those 
who controlled the offices. A naive attitude, perhaps, but we find it ex- 
pressed again and again in his letters. In such spirit he wrote to Harriet 
Monroe on the 22nd of October 1912: 'I'm the kind of ass that believes in 
the public intelligence. I believe your "big business man" would rather 
hear a specialist's opinion, even if it's wrong, than hear a rumour, a dicta- 
tion.' I shall return later to this aspect of Pound's correspondence. For the 
moment, I wish to emphas ize its impersonal quality. H is letters do not 
concern themselves with 'private life' — with what he scornfully calls 



* laundry lists' — but with the health of the arts. For that reason they have 
at times a messianic tone. Considering the stakes at hazard, one doesn't 

He was not, of course, the only man who held art in such seriousness, 
but he was so constituted that he had not only abundant energies but 
a civic sense acute to a degree which possibly only Americans can 
understand. When Harriet Monroe wrote him late in 1931 that she 
planned to retire, visit her sister in Cheefoo, and allow Poetry to die, 
he replied: 

'The intelligence of the nation more important than the comfort or 
life of any one individual or the bodily life of a whole generation. 

'It is difficult enough to give the god dam amoeba a nervous system. 

'Having done your bit to provide a scrap of rudimentary ganglia amid 
the wholly bestial suet and pig fat, you can stop; but I as a responsible 
intellect do not propose (and have no right) to allow that bit of nerve 
tissue (or battery wire) to be wrecked merely because you have a sister 
in Cheefoo or because there are a few of your friends whom it would be 
pleasanter to feed or spare than to shoot/ 

As he recognized, the health of the arts, of economic ideas, could not be 
the concern of a single person. He had to form, in so far as the power was 
vouchsafed him, an avant-garde: in a military as well as in the literary 
sense. He had to produce a generation that would battle for the arts with 
the same vigour and tenacity with which he battled. The personal letter 
was his means of contact, and his high aim determined its extent. 

The editor, when naming off to Pound those from whom to solicit 
letters for this edition, mentioned Jules Romains and got the following 
reply: 'Nothing there. It was not necessary to repeat to Romains. He was 
active* And indeed, Pound's best letters are those to people from whom 
he had to remove some sort of inertia, whether of simple physical action 
or of ignorance, and not, as one might think, to old friends and colleagues 
like Joyce, Eliot, and Lewis. They had their own jobs to do and their own 
ways of doing them. Discussion on these points was out of the question, 
for they are what make those personalities interesting artists. 

The bulk and interest of his letters to Harriet Monroe testify to no 
physical inertia on her part. She was active enough. But he had to over- 
come in her an inertia of ignorance. It was sometimes difficult for her to 
understand quite simple things. In a note to his article entitled 'The 
Renaissance: I, The Palette' printed in the February 191 5 number of 
Poetry ', Pound had written: 'I have not in this paper, set out to give a 
whole history of poetry. I have said, as it were, "Such poets are pure 
red . . . pure green". Knowledge of them is of as much use to a poet as the 


finding of good colour is to a painter/ To this note Miss Monroe appended 
hers, in which she declared that there was pure colour in Poe's 'Helen', 
in 'Kubla Khan', in 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' and concluded with: 
'But certain Shakespearean songs and sonnets would be the basis of my 
palette.' Pound wrote her with some irritation: 'Your note is bewrying. 
The whole point of a "palette" is that it has various pure colours. Shx. 
lyrics — maximum of their own tone or colour — yes. But "basis of palette" 
is a foolish expression.' 

Pound had to overcome as well her narrow conception of poetry. In 
later years he wrote her frankly about her limitations: ' [They] can be 
pardoned to you, but not tolerated in themselves, or for themselves.' 
Fortunately she possessed enormous goodwill and courage. If, in the years 
191 2-17, she at the beginning rebelled against printing H.D., Frost, and 
Eliot, she could ultimately be convinced by those letters issuing first from 
10 Church Walk and later from 5 Holland Place Chambers. Even if — as 
in the case of Eliot — it took six months ! Doubtless she printed the best of 
what came to her hand independently of Pound's influence, but for years 
the average measure of that verse can be taken from the following lines 
chosen at random from a 191 3 issue of Poetry: 

Stream, stream, stream 
Oh the willows by the stream; 
The poplars and the willows 
And the gravel all agleamf 

But those lines measure not only Poetry; they measure as well the magazine 
verse of the time. And the established magazines did not, of course, print 
Pound or Eliot or H.D. or Frost. That glory was Miss Monroe's. It 
would be saying too much that Pound thrust greatness upon her; but one 
wonders, had he not been there with that acute civic sense, with those 

prodding letters ? 

His correspondence with the young falls into the category of letters to 
inactive persons. The young were learning; they stood at the verge of 
action. Pound undertook, like an inspired pedagogue, to set them into 
action fully armed with a knowledge of their personalities. He spent a 
great deal of time and energy on them, even on those who showed little 
talent, for they, too, might prove of use. 'I don't lay as much stock', he 
wrote Miss Monroe in 193 1, 'by teachin' the elder generation as by teachin' 
the risin', and if one gang dies without learnin' there is always the next. 
Keep on remindin' 'em that we ain't bolcheviks, but only the terrifyin' 
voice of civilization, kulchuh, refinement, aesthetic perception.' And he 
did teach the rising generations. Those who produced, produced; those 



who did not produce at least reminded others what that terrifyin' voice 

In his four decades of activity, he received many hundreds of pages of 
manuscript from the young, together with appeals for criticism. A pros- 
pect of labours that might have staggered a professional instructor of 
composition! But Pound assumed such fatigues as though they were 
duties. When he discerned any talent, he replied with page after page of 
detailed suggestions. When he did not perceive any interest in the work 
he said so with what must have been a stunning frankness, as in a letter 
of 1933: 'I don't think there is any chance for any yng. feller making a 
dent in the pubk. or highly select consciousness by means of pomes writ 
in the style of 191 3/1 5. An thet's flat and no use my handlin you with 

Although most of his criticism was highly specific, he recognized that 
thereby a danger inhered in it: that of impressing his own tone and per- 
sonality upon the manuscripts submitted to him. (In his criticisms of the 
work even of elder men, whose personalities might be presumed to be 
fixed, he refrained from too much verbal suggestion. When he felt it 
necessary, as in his word-by- word examination of Binyon's translation of 
the Purgatorio — here reduced to one-third its original length — he would 
produce something (say a pseudo-Chaucerian pair of lines) out of tone 
with the rest of the manuscript, so that the writer would be stimulated to 
a new solution independent of Pound's.) With his young 'students' 
(there seems to be no other word), he allayed the danger by giving them 
reading lists that would serve to develop their own personalities and, at 
the same time, answer certain problems of expression and thereby relieve 
the pressure upon himself. In 19 16 he put Iris Barry through a formidable 
regimen. He was evidently pleased with die result, for the reading lists 
and suggestions in that series of letters later became the basis of his 
•How to Read'. 

He considered that his function was to save the young time and error, 
and his aim, as he put it, to turn proselytes into disciples. After the publi- 
cation of 'How to Read,' he referred his correspondents to that pamphlet. 
If they had read it and had pursued, in so far as they were able, the recom- 
mended readings, he offered advice and put them in touch with others of 
his correspondents, generally those of the same city or college. And some- 
times a young man so introduced would come weeping back in the next 
letter that he did not agree with X, or Y, whom he had met through 
Pound. A letter like that could make him explode into: 

'If you are looking for people who agree with you! ! ! ! How the hell 
many points of agreement do you suppose there were between Joyce, 



W. Lewis, Eliot and yrs. truly in 191 7; or between Gaudier and Lewi9 in 
1913; or between me and Yeats, etc.? 

'If you agree that there ought to be decent writing, something 
expressing the man's ideas, not prune juice to suit the pub. taste or 
your taste, you will have got as far as any 'circle' or 'world' ever has. 

'If another man has ideas of any kind (not borrowed cliches) that 
irritate you enough to make you think or take out your own ideas and 
look at 'em, that is all one can expect.' 

He constantly urged the young to form groups. It was very difficult. He 
would seldom bring them to understand that 'it requires more crit. 
faculty to discover the hidden 10% positive, than to fuss about 90% 
obvious imperfections', or that, above a certain level, differences — of 
taste, of view-point, of technique, of material, of belief — ought to exist. 
They generally proved much less resilient than Miss Monroe. He once 
persuaded her to allow Louis Zukofsky to edit a number of Poetry, the 
' Objectivist Number'. After the act, somewhat appalled at the result, she 
wrote Pound that the number did not seem to 'record a triumph' for that 
group. Pound agreed, but insisted that the point of the number was that 
the mode of presentation was good editing: 'The zoning of different 
states of mind, so that one can see what they are, is good editing.' And he 
continued: 'Get some other damn group and see what it can do. What 
about the neo-Elinor-Wylites? ... Or the neo-hogbutcherbigdriftites?' 

Both die editorial and the propaedeutic advice of his letters formed a 
part of his vast effort to create a milieu in which art could exist. Conscious, 
as I have indicated, that it was not a job for a single person however great 
his energies, he usually called into service existing institutions. For they 
had, after all, an organization and contact with a part of the public. In 
his great magazine ventures — Poetry, The Egoist, and The Little Review 
— he employed already established facilities in order to provide space for 
serious writers and to divert money to them. If, before 19 17, The Little 
Review did not print the best work available, it had shown at least 
an attitude with which Pound could sympathize. He had simply to con- 
vince the editors of the importance of printing Eliot or Lewis or Joyce 
or some new poet who had sought him out in London or who had written 
from some remote township in, say, Indiana. 

But there was a job ancillary to that of providing a means of circulation 
for contemporary writers, that of cleansing stables. He went at it with a 
flaming American zeal, as John Brown had gone at slavery or Carrie 
Nation at rum. Unlike them, he did not seek to destroy out of hand, for 
his letters reveal that he thought well of nearly all organizations and 
institutions, from magazines through universities to governments — in 



their ideal forms. A bad magazine or university or government had merely 
departed from its ideal; perhaps because time had gone on and left it 
struggling for aims that were no longer valid, perhaps because it had been 
warped. The first of these did not bother him much. Such institutions, 
while they lent a faintly musty odour of decayed thought to the ambience, 
would die without his help. What moved him to decided action was the 
warped institution, which he assumed might function properly but for 
ignorance at the top, and consequently he bent his efforts to educating it. 

This would seem to be an excess of optimism. But he partakes of that 
American trait. Consider, for example, one of his earliest attempts to 
reform an institution. In 1916 he wrote to Professor Felix Schelling of the 
University of Pennsylvania suggesting that the English faculty institute a 
* fellowship given for creative ability regardless of whether the man had 
any university degree whatsoever*. He went on to name Carl Sandburg 
as a candidate for such a fellowship. Professor Schelling replied with what 
Pound regarded as the epitaph for the American university system: 'The 
university is not here for the unusual man.' Pound apparently learned, 
for when in 1929 that university wrote asking him for money, he added 
the following postscript to an already negative answer: 'All the U. of P. 
or your god damn college or any other god damn American college does 
or will do for a man of letters is to ask him to go away without breaking 
the silence.' But five years later in reply to a letter from Professor 
Schelling he wrote: 'You ain't so old but what you cd. wake up. And you 
are too respected and respectable for it to be any real risk. They can't 
fire you now. Why the hell don't you have a bit of real fun before you get 
tucked under? ' A last-act repentance as the curtain falls ! 

Or consider, again, that he was not at all awed by the magnitude of 
an economic reform that he had undertaken. Letters went out to friends 
and acquaintances, senators and M.P.s, with astonishing fluency. Here, 
perhaps, he may have lost a sense of proportion, but the matter was of 
desperate urgency. He saw Europe drifting towards a war that could have 
been avoided by a simple currency reform. Under such conditions, 
nothing that promised alleviation was too remote for him to try. In 1934 
he wrote to Salvador de Madariaga, an old acquaintance of his from 
London days, asking him to introduce the theories of Douglas in the 
Cortes of the new Spanish republic. After all, why not? Serious things 
were at stake, and Spain had given evidence that she wanted economic 
justice for her people. The peak of his optimism is reached in a letter of 
the ijth of September 1935, to John Cournos. 'Are you,' he wrote, 'in 
touch with any of these Rhooshun blokes you write about in Criterion}} 
As there is no way of getting one grain of sense into Communists outsiAt 



Russia, would there be any way of inducing any Rhoosian intelligentzia 
to consider Douglas and Gesell?' 

Sanguine perhaps, but not comic. The well-being of millions of people 
depends upon mankind's adopting a system of economic justice. Pound's 
eagerness to approach every person or organization that gave any promise, 
however slight, of moving towards that ideal is the gauge of his serious- 

He never sentimentalized over humanity; in fact, its obtuseness fre- 
quently irritated him. Nevertheless, what strikes one in nearly every 
letter he wrote is his sustained devotion to it. 

The present book owes its being to that devotion. It is one effort more 
to communicate with an epoch. 

If the editor has managed by the arrangement and selection of these 
letters to illuminate Pound's own work and to convey the history of the 
chief artistic developments of the past forty years, in so much as these 
touched Pound, he will have succeeded in his aim. There remains the 
portrait of the artist's personality. That emerges perforce; it is none of 
the editor's doing. 

The letters have come from various sources: from the recipients them- 
selves, from collectors, and from libraries. The loss of many letters to 
political confiscations, bombings, and climatic conditions — those, for 
example, to Aldington, Dulac, Hemingway, and Rodker — suggests that 
this collection has not been made too soon. Such early letters as are lost 
may be presumed to be completely lost. Those of later years can often 
be supplied by carbon copies, to which Mr. Pound has generously given 
the editor access. These carbon copies have been used to fill in gaps left 
by the editor's inability to get in touch with correspondents or with 
executors or to spare time-claimed correspondents the fatigue of search- 
ing out the originals. In all cases he has sought the permission of corre- 
spondents or executors to use the carbons. When he has not received 
replies, he has nevertheless used the letters. 

A Note on the Editing 
Deletions. Deletions have been indicated by the following symbols: 

indicates that one to twenty-five words or thereabouts have 

been dropped; — / — / indicates that about twenty-five to fifty words have 
been dropped; and — / — / indicates that more than fifty words have been 
dropped. The first of these symbols occurs frequently with proper names, 
and in such juxtaposition generally indicates that the person's address has 
been deleted. All other deletions have been made in order to avoid 
repetitions or to eliminate material of little general interest. In each letter 



the editor has aimed to keep deletions to a minimum and to present the 
whole letter. 

Suppressions. Names have been suppressed according to the following 
scheme: (a) initial letter followed by periods — used when a harsh critical 
comment, untempered by favourable remarks in other letters, is made 
about a living artist; 

(A) final letter preceded by dots when the comment is not critical or when 
the name stands as a symbol of evil; 

(c) letters followed by a long dash when complete suppression is 

Notes. The editor has tried to avoid an excess of footnotes and where 
possible has interpolated explanatory matter in the text between mon- 
angular brackets. 

Punctuation, Spelling, and Emphases. As has been indicated by several 
quotations above, these are anything but normal, and they have put the 
editor in considerable dilemma, for to hold to the letter would have made 
a book intolerable to read, while to set all things aright would have missed 
some of Pound's epistolary savour. The editor has accordingly compro- 
mised. The slanted line is replaced by more normal marks of punctuation, 
but regularization has been avoided. Misspellings have been corrected. 
Plays on spelling have been thinned out (but not eliminated) only when 
they have come so thickly as to retard the reader. These changes are very 
few. Pound's emphases in his typed letters came more and more to be 
indicated by capitals instead of by underlinings — evidently to avoid the 
loss of time in going back and underlining a word. But even capitalized 
words are sometimes doubly and triply underlined in ink. The editor has 
indicated these capitalizations by italics when the words have not been 
re-emphasized, and by small capitals when they have been. 

The general aim has been to present a volume that can be read consecu- 
tively with as little eye fatigue as possible. The editor alone is responsible 
for these prettyings up. In short, the excellencies of the book are Mr. 
Pound's and the faults the editor's. 

Thanks are due to Mr. and Mrs. Pound and to the following individuals 
and institutions: Charles Abbott, Director, Lockwood Memorial Library, 
University of Buffalo; John Alden, Curator of Rare Books, University of 
Pennsylvania Library; Richard Aldington; Margaret Anderson; Mary 
Barnard; Agnes Bedford; Cecily Binyon; William Bird; Judith Bond, 
Curator, Harriet Monroe Collection, University of Chicago Library; 
Basil Bunting; Montgomery Butchart; Lena Caico; Sarah Perkins Cope; 
John Cournos; Hubert Creekmore; E. E. Cummings; John Drummond; 
Edmund Dulac; Ronald Duncan; T. S. Eliot; Arnold Gingrich; Douglas 



Goldring; W. W. Hatfield; Ernest Hemingway; Hilaire Hiler; Houghton 
Library, Harvard University; Sisley Huddleston; Glenn Hughes; Lang- 
ston Hughes; Joseph Darling Ibbotson; Maria Jolas; Norah Joyce; Katue 
Kitasono; James Laughlin; A. W. Lawrence; Wyndham Lewis; H. L. 
Mencken; Fred R. Miller; Marianne Moore; F. V, Morley; Gerhart 
Munch; New York Public Library; N. H. Pearson; Laurence Pollinger; 
John Rodker; Olga Rudge; Peter Russell; George Santayana; John 
Scheiwiller; Henry Swabey; Ren6 Taupin; Harriet Shaw Weaver; T. C. 
Wilson; Donald Wing; and the Yale University Library. 



1885 — 30 October, born in Hailey, Idaho. 

1901-7 — College. 13 June 1907 received Master's degree. Summer, went 
to Spain as Harrison Fellow (University of Pennsylvania) to pursue 
researches on Lope. Autumn, professor of Spanish and French at 
Wabash College. Winter, Europe: Gibraltar, Spain, Venice. 

1908 — June, A Lume Spento published in Venice. To London. December, 
A Quin^ainefor this Yule published. 

1909 — April, Personae published. Meetings with Frederic Manning, T. E. 
Hulme, Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford), W. B. Yeats. Autumn, Exulta- 
tions published. 

1 910 — Lectures on Romance literature. First expression of aesthetic 
principles in The Spirit of Romance. Provenca (poems), first American 
publication. Summer, returned to America. Meeting with John Quinn. 

191 1 — February, returned to London. Can^oni published. 

191 2 — Ripostes published. First announcement of Imagism in the fore- 
word to the poems of T. E. Hulme appended to that volume. Sonnets 
and Ballate ofGuido Cavalcanti October, became foreign correspon- 
dent of Poetry (Chicago). 

1913 — March, 'A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste' in Poetry (Chicago). 
April, 'Contemporania' poems published. Oriental studies begun. 

1 914 — January, first of his notes on Joyce. February, anthology Des 
Imagistes published. April, married to Dorothy Shakespear. June, 
contributions to Lewis's BLAST. September, 'Vorticism' published 
in The Fortnightly Review. 

1915 — April, Cathay published. Edited Poetical Works of Lionel Johnson. 
Second number of BLAST. December, Catholic Anthology, intro- 
ducing the work of Eliot. 

1 9 16 — June, Certain Noble Plays of Japan. Gaudier-Br^ska, a Memoir. 

1 9 17 — Nohy or Accomplishment. Foreign editor of The Little Review. 
June, July and August, first three Cantos published in Poetry. Dialogues 
of Fontenelle. Passages from the Letters of John Butler Yeats. 

1918 — Pavannes and Divisions. 

1919 — Homage to Sextus Propertius. Quia Pauper Amavi. The Fourth 
Canto. Economic studies begin. 

1920 — Collaboration with The Dial. Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. June, 
meeting with Joyce. Instigations. Umbra. 



1921 — Leaves England for France. June, settles in Paris. Poems: 1918- 

1911. Winter, maieutic efforts on The Waste Land. 
1922 — Attempt to launch 'Bel Esprit'. Studies with Rousellot. 
1923 — Edits 'The Inquest* for William Bird's Three Mountains Press. 

1924 — Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony. April, illness; leaves France 

for Italy. XVI Cantos. 
1925 — February, settles in Rapallo. Composition of his opera Villon. 
1926 — Publication of Personae (New York). 
1927 — Translation of Ta Hio. His quarterly, Exile, launched. Wins Dial 

1928 — 'How to Read'. Researches on Guido Cavalcanti approach 

1930 — Publication of XXX Cantos. 
1 93 1 — Publication of Guido Cavalcanti Rime. 
1933 — Active Anthology. 
1934 — Make It New. ABC of Reading. ABC of Economics. Eleven New 

1935 — Jefferson and) or Mussolini. Social Credit: An Impact. 
1937 — Fifth Decad of Cantos. Polite Essays. 

1938 — Guide to Kulchur. July, 'Mang Tsze' published in The Criterion. 
1940 — Cantos LII-LXXI. 




i: To Felix E. Schelling 

IPyncote, Pa. y 16 January 

My dear Dr. Schelling: I have already begun work on 'II Candelak)' 
which is eminently germane to my other romance work and in which I 
have considerable interest. 

On the other hand, since the study of Martial there is nothing I approach 
with such nausea and disgust as Roman life (Das Privatleben). Of course 
if you consider the latter of more importance, I shall endeavor to make 
my hate do as good work as my interest. 



2: To William Carlos Williams 

London, 21 October 

Dear Bill: Glad to hear from you at last. 

Good Lord ! of course you don't have to like the stuff I write. I hope the 
time will never come when I get so fanatical as to let a man's like or dislike 
for what I happen to 'poetare' interfere with an old friendship or a new 

Remember, of course, that some of the stuff is dramatic and in die 
character of die person named in the title. 

The 'Decadence,' which is one of the poems I suppose in your index \ 
expurgatorius, is the expression of the decadent spirit as I conceive it. The 
Villonauds are likewise what I conceive after a good deal of study to be an 
expression akin to, if not of, the spirit breathed in Villon's own poeting. 
' Fifine' is the answer to the question quoted from Browning's own ' Fifine 
at the Fak.' 

Will continue when I get back from an appointment. 

And once more to the breech. 

I am damn glad to get some sincere criticism anyhow. Now let me to die 
defence. It seems to me you might as well say that Shakespeare is dissolute 
in his plays because Falstaff is, or that the plays have a criminal tendency 
because there is murder done in them. 

To me the short so-called dramatic lyric — at any rate the sort of thing I 
do— is the poetic part of a drama the rest of which (to me the prose part) is 
left to the reader's imagination or implied or set in a short note. I catch the 
character I happen to be interested in at the moment he interests me, 
usually a moment of song, self-analysis, or sudden understanding or reve- 
lation. And the rest of the play would bore me and presumably the reader. 
I paint my man as I conceive him. Et voil& tout! 

Is a painter's art crooked because he paints hunch-backs? 

I wish you'd spot the bitter, personal notes and send 'em over to me for 
inspection. Personally I think you get 'em by reading in the wrong tone of 
voice. However, you may be right. Hilda (Doolittle) seems about as 
pleased with the work as you are. Mosher is going to reprint. W. B. Yeats 


1908— aetat 22 
applies the adjective 'charming/ but they feel no kindly responsibility for 
the morals and future of the author. 

As for preaching poetic anarchy or anything else: heaven forbid. I 
record symptoms as I see 'em. I advise no remedy. I don't even draw the 
disease usually. Temperature 102-3/8, pulse 78, tongue coated, etc., eyes 
yellow, etc. 

As for the 'eyes of too ruthless public': damn their eyes. No art ever yet 
grew by looking into the eyes of the public, ruthless or otherwise. You can 
obliterate yourself and mirror God, Nature, or Humanity but if you try to 
mirror yourself in the eyes of the public, woe be unto your art. At least 
that's the phase of truth that presents itself to me. 

I wonder whether, when you talk about poetic anarchy, you mean a life 
lawlessly poetic and poetically lawless mirrored in the verse; or whether 
you mean a lawlessness in the materia poetica and metrica. Sometimes I 
use rules of Spanish, Anglo-Saxon and Greek metric that are not common 
in the English of Milton's or Miss Austen's day. I doubt, however, if you 
are sufficiently au courant to know just what the poets and musicians and 
painters are doing with a good deal of convention that has masqueraded 
as law. 

Au contraire, I am very sure that I have written a lot of stuff that would 
please you and a lot of my personal friends more than A L(ume) S(pento). 
But, mon cher, would a collection of mild, pretty verses convince any pub- 
lisher or critic that / happen to be a genius and deserve audience? I have 
written bushels of verse that could offend no one except a person as well- 
read as I am who knows that it has all been said just as prettily before. 
Why write what I can translate out of Renaissance Latin or crib from the 
sainted dead? 

Here are a list of facts on which I and 9,000,000 other poets have spieled 

1. Spring is a pleasant season. The flowers, etc. etc. sprout bloom etc. etc 

2. Young man's fancy. Lightly, heavily, gaily etc. etc. 

3. Love, a delightsome tickling. Indefinable etc. 
A) By day, etc. etc. etc B) By night, etc. etc. etc. 

4. Trees, hills etc are by a provident nature arranged diversely, in 
diverse places. 

5. Winds, clouds, rains, etc flop thru and over 'em. 

6. Men love women. (More poetic in singular, but the verb retains the 
same form.) 

(In Greece and Pagan countries men loved men, but the fact is no longer 
mentioned in polite society except in an expurgated sense.) I am not 
attracted by the Pagan custom but my own prejudices are not materia 



poetica. Besides I didn't get particularly lascivious in A.L.S. However, in 
the above 6 groups I think you find the bulk of the poetic matter of die 
ages. Wait — 

7. Men fight battles, etc. etc. 

8. Men go on voyages. 

Beyond this, men think and feel certain things and see certain things not 
with the bodily vision. About this time I begin to get interested and the 
general too ruthlessly goes to sleep? To, however, quit this wrangle. If 
you mean to say that A.L.S. is a rather gloomy and disagreeable book, I 
agree with you. I thought that in Venice. Kept out of it one tremendously 
gloomy series of ten sonnets — a la Thompson of the City of Dreadful 
Night — which are poetically radier fine in spots. Wrote or attempted to 
write a bit of sunshine, some of which — too much for my critical sense — 
got printed. However, the bulk of the work (say 30 of the poems) is the 
most finished work I have yet done. 

I don't know that you will like the Quin^aine for this Yule any better. 

Again as to the unconstrained vagabondism. If anybody ever shuts you 
in Indiana for four months and you don't at least write some uncon- 
strained something or other, I'd give up hope for your salvation. Again, if 
you ever get degraded, branded with infamy, etc., for feeding a person 
who needs food, 1 you will probably rise up and bless the present and sacred 
name of Madame Grundy for all her holy hypocrisy. I am not getting bit- 
ter. I have been more than blessed for my kindness and the few shekels cast 
on the water have come back ten fold and I have no fight with anybody. 

I am amused. The smile is kindly but entirely undiluted with reverence. 

To continue. I am doubly thankful for a friend who'll say what he thinks 
— after long enough consideration to know what he really thinks — and I 
hope I'm going to be blessed with your criticism for as long as may be. 

I wish you'd get a bit closer. I mean make more explicit and detailed 
statements of what you don't like. 

Bitter personal note??? 'Grace Before Song' — certainly not. 

1 Pound spent the winter of 1907 at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, 
Indiana, where he taught French and Spanish. After having read late one night, 
he went into town through a blizzard to mail a letter. On the streets he found a 
girl from a stranded burlesque show, penniless and hungry. The centennial 
history of the college records that he fed her and took her to his rooms where 
she spent the night in his bed and he on the floor of his study. Early in the 
morning he left for an eight o'clock class. The Misses Hall, from whom he 
rented the rooms, went up after his departure for the usual cleaning. They were 
maiden ladies in a small mid- Western town and had let those rooms before 
only to an elderly professor. They telephoned the president of the college and 
several trustees; the affair thus made public, only one outcome was possible. 


1908— aetat 22 

•La Fraisne' — the man is half- or whole mad. Pathos, certainly, but 
bitterness? I can't see it. 

'Cino' — the thing is banal. He might be anyone. Besides he is cata- 
logued in his epitaph. 

' Audiart ' — nonsense. 

* Villonaud for Yule.' ' Gibbet '—personal ? ? ? 

* Mesmerism ' — impossible. 
'Fifine' — ditto. 

4 Anima Sola.' 'Senectus' — utterly impossible. 

' Famam Librosque' — self-criticism, but I don't see it as bitter. 

* Eyes ' — nonsense. 
'Scrip, lg.' — ditto. 
'Donzella Beata' — ditto. 

'Vana.' 'Chasteus.' 'Decadence' — writ, in plural; even if not it is 
answered and contradicted on the opposite page. 

'The Fistulae' — nonsense. 

Where are they? I may be the blind one. 

Now to save me writing. Ecclesiastes 2:24; Proverbs 30:19. This is the 
arrant vagabondism. The soul, from god, returns to him. But anyone who 
can trace that course or symbolize it by anything not wandering. . . . 

Perhaps you like pictures painted in green and white and gold and I 
paint in black and crimson and purple? 

However, speak out and don't become 'powerless to write that you 
don't like.' There is one thing sickly-sweet: to wit, the flattery of those 
that know nothing about the art and yet adore indiscriminately. 

To your 'ultimate attainments of poesy,' what are they? I, of course, am 
only at the first quarter-post in a marathon. I have, of course, not attained 
them, but I wonder just where you think the tape is stretched for Mr. Hays, 
' vittore ufficiale,' and Dorando Pietri, hero of Italy. (That was by the way 
delightful to get in Italy and to get here one of the men who arranged the 
events, one of the trainer sort who said Pietri would have never got there 
if he hadn't been helped. 1 ) I wish, no fooling, that you would define your 
ultimate attainments of poesy. Of course we won't agree. That would be 
too uninteresting. I don't know that I can make much of a list. 

1. To paint the thing as I see it. 

2. Beauty. 

3. Freedom from didacticism. 

1 During thei 908 Olympic Games in England, Pietri collapsed two or three times 
in the last metres of the twenty-five mile marathon race. As he arose in final effort 
and staggered toward the tape, an enthusiastic timekeeper rushed onto the track 
and supported Pietri for three metres, to break the tape. Pietri was disqualified. 



4* It is only good manners if you repeat a few other men to at least do it 
better or more briefly. Utter originality is of course out of the ques- 
tion. Besides the Punch Bowl covers that point. 

Then again you must remember I don't try to write for the public. I 
can't. I haven't that kind of intelligence. 'To such as love this same beauty 
that I love somewhat after mine own fashion.' 

Also I don't want to bore people. That is one most flagrant crime at this 
stage of the world's condition. 19 pages of letter ought to prove that. I am 
hopeless. 'Ma cosi son io.' Your letter is worth a dozen notes of polite 
appreciation. Eccovi, an honest man. Diogenes put to shame. 

Write now that the bars are down and tear it up. You may thereby help 
me to do something better. Flattery never will. 

My days of utter privation are over for a space. 

P.S. The last line page 3 oiA.L.S. x ought to answer some of your letter. 

1 * For I know that the wailing and bitterness are a folly' 


y. To William Carlos Williams 

London, 3 February 

Deer Bill: May I quote * Steve' on the occasion of my own firing: ' Gee ! ! 
wish I wuz fired ! ' Nothing like it to stir the blood and give a man a start 
in life. Hope you shine the improving hour with poesy. 

Am by way of falling into the crowd that does things here. 

London, deah old Lundon, is the place for poesy. 

Mathews is publishing my Personae and giving me the same terms he 
gives Maurice Hewlett. As for your p'tit fr£re. I knew he'd hit the pike for 
Dagotalia. When does he come over? I shall make a special trip to Ave 
Roma immortalis to rehear the tale of * Meestair Robingsonnh.' 

If you have saved any pennies during your stay in Neuva York, you'd 
better come across and broaden your mind. American doctors are in great 
demand in Italy, especially during the touring season. Besides, you'd 
much prefer to scrap with an intelligent person like myself than with a 
board of directing idiots. 

4: To William Carlos Williams 

London^ 11 May 

I hope to God you have no feelings. If you have, burn this before reading. 
Dear Billy: Thanks for your Poems. What, if anything, do you want me 
to do by way of criticism? 

?Is it a personal, private edtn. for your friends, or? ? 

As proof that W.C.W. has poetic instincts the book is valuable. Au 
contraire, if you were in London and saw the stream of current poetry, I 
wonder how much of it you would have printed? Do you want me to 
criticise it as if (it) were my own work? 

I have sinned in nearly every possible way, even the ways I most con- 
demn. I have printed too much. I have been praised by the greatest living 



poet. I am, after eight years' hammering against impenetrable adamant, 
become suddenly somewhat of a success. 

From where do you want me to show the sharpened 'blade'? Is there 
anything I know about your book that you don't know? 

Individual, original it is not. Great art it is not. Poetic it is, but there are 
innumerable poetic volumes poured out here in Gomorrah. There is no 
town like London to make one feel the vanity of all art except the highest. 
To make one disbelieve in all but the most careful and conservative pre- 
sentation of one's stuff. I have sinned deeply against the doctrine I preach. 

Your book would not attract even passing attention here. There are fine 
lines in it, but nowhere I think do you add anything to the poets you have 
used as models. 

If I should publish a medical treatise explaining that arnica was good for 
bruises (or cuts or whatever it is) it would show that I had found out cer- 
tain medical facts, but it would not be of great value to the science of medi- 
cine. You see I am getting under weigh. 

If you'll read Yeats and Browning and Francis Thompson and Swin- 
burne and Rossetti you'll learn something about the progress of Eng. 
poetry in the last century. And if you'll read Margaret Sackville, Rosa- 
mund Watson, Ernest Rhys, Jim G. Fairfax, you'll learn what the people 
of second rank can do, and what damn good work it is. You are out of 
touch. That's all. 

Most great poetry is written in the first person (i.e. it has been for about 
2000 years). The 3rd is sometimes usable and the 2nd nearly always 
wooden. (Millions of exceptions !) What's the use of this? 

Read Aristotle's Poetics, Longinus' On the Sublime, De Quincey, Yeats' 

Lect. I. Learn your art thoroughly. If you'll study the people in that 1st 
lecture and then reread your stuff — you'll get a lot more ideas about it 
than you will from any external critique I can make of the verse you have 
sent me. 

Vale et me ama ! 

P.S. And remember a man's real work is what he is going to do, not what 
is behind him. Avanti e coraggio ! 



5: To Harriet Monroe 

London, (18) August 

Dear Madam: I am interested, and your scheme as far as I understand it 
seems not only sound, but the only possible method. There is no other 
magazine in America which is not an insult to the serious artist and to the 
dignity of his art. 

But? Can you teach the American poet that poetry is an art, an art with 
a technique, with media, an art that must be in constant flux, a constant 
change of manner, if it is to live? Can you teach him that it is not a penta- 
metric echo of the sociological dogma printed in last year's magazines? 
Maybe. Anyhow you have work before you. 

I may be myopic, but during my last tortured visit to America I found 
no writer and but one reviewer who had any worthy conception of 
poetry, The Art. However I need not bore you with jeremiads. 

At least you are not the usual 'esthetic magazine,' which is if anything 
worse than the popular; for the esthetic magazine expects the artist to do all 
the work, pays nothing and then undermines his credit by making his 
convictions appear ridiculous. 

Quant k moi: If you conceive verse as a living medium, on a par with 
paint, marble and music, you may announce, if it's any good to you, that 
for the present such of my work as appears in America (barring my own 
books) will appear exclusively in your magazine. I think you might easily 
get all the serious artists to boycott the rest of the press entirely. I can't 
send you much at the moment, for my Arnaut Daniel 'has gone to the pub- 
lisher, and the proofs of Ripostes are on my desk, and I've been working 
for three months on a prose book. Even the Ripostes is scarcely more than 
a notice that my translations and experiments have not entirely interrupted 
my compositions. 

I sincerely hope, by the way, that you mean what you say in your letter 
— that it isn't the usual editorial suavity of which I've seen enough — for I 
am writing to you very freely and taking you at your word. 

Are you for American poetry or for poetry? The latter is more impor- 
tant, but it is important that America should boost the former, provided it 



don't mean a blindness to the art. The glory of any nation is to produce art 
that can be exported without disgrace to its origin. 

I ask because if you do want poetry from other sources than America I 
may be able to be of use. I don't think it's any of the artist's business to see 
whether or no he circulates, but I was nevertheless tempted, on the verge 
of starting a quarterly, and it's a great relief to know that your paper may 
manage what I had, without financial strength, been about to attempt 
rather forlornly. 

I don't think we need go to the French extreme of having four prefaces 
to each poem and eight schools for every dozen of poets, but you must 
keep an eye on Paris. Anyhow I hope your ensign is not 'more poetry' ! 
but more interesting poetry, and maestria ! 

If I can be of any use in keeping you or the magazine in touch with 
whatever is most dynamic in artistic thought, either here or in Paris — as 
much of it comes to me, and I do see nearly everyone that matters — I shall 
be glad to do so. 

I send you all that I have on my desk — an over-elaborate post-Brown- 
ing 'Imagiste' affair and a note on the Whistler exhibit. I count him our 
only great artist, and even this informal salute, drastic as it is, may not be 
out of place at the threshold of what I hope is an endeavor to carry into 
our American poetry the same sort of life and intensity which he infused 
into modern painting. 

P.S. Any agonizing that tends to hurry what I believe in the end to be 
inevitable, our American Risorgimento, is dear to me. That awakening 
will make the Italian Renaissance look like a tempest in a teapot ! The force 
we have, and the impulse, but the guiding sense, the discrimination in 
applying the force, we must wait and strive for. 

6: To Harriet Monroe 

London, (24) September 

Dear Miss Monroe: I've just written to Yeats. It's rather hard 

to get anything out of him by mail and he won't be back in London until 
November. Still I've done what I can, and as it's the first favor or about the 
first that I've asked for three years, I may get something—' to set the tone.' 
Also I'll try to get some of the poems of the very great Bengali poet, 
Rabindranath Tagore. They are going to be the sensation of the win- 
ter W.B.Y. is doing the introduction to them. They are translated by 

the author into very beautiful English prose, with mastery of cadence. 


1 91 2— aetat 26 

I shall leave the 'literati' to themselves — they already support them- 
selves very comfortably — unless there is someone whose work you parti- 
cularly want. . . . We must be taken seriously at once. We must be the yoke 
not only for the U.S. but internationally. ... I think we might print one 
French poem a month. My idea of our policy is this: We support American 
poets — preferably the young ones who have a serious determination to produce 
master-work. We import only such work as is better than that produced at 
home. The best foreign stuffs the stuff well above mediocrity ', or the experi- 
ments that seem serious y and seriously and sanely directed toward the broaden- 
ing and development of The Art of Poetry. l 

And 'to hell with Harper's and the magazine touch' ! 

7: To Harriet Monroe 

London, October 

Dear Harriet Monroe: I've had luck again, and am sending 

you some modern stuff by an American, I say modern, for it is in the laconic 
speech of the Imagistes, even if the subject is classic. At least H.D. has 
lived with these things since childhood, and knew them before she had any 
book-knowledge of them. 

This is the sort of American stuff that I can show here and in Paris with- 
out its being ridiculed. Objective — no slither; direct — no excessive use of 
adjectives, no metaphors that won't permit examination. It's straight talk, 
straight as the Greek ! And it was only by persistence that I got to see it 
at all. 

8: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 13 October 


Dear Miss Monroe: I don't know that America is ready to be diverted by 
the ultra-modern, ultra-effete tenuity of Contemporania.* 'The Dance' 
has little but its rhythm to recommend it. 

4 The Epilogue' refers to The Spirit of Romance to the experiments and 
paradigms of form and metre — quantities, alliteration, polyphonic rimes 

1 The italics were added by Pound in 1937, when this and several other letters 
were printed in Harriet Monroe's autobiography. 

2 A series of his poems published in Poetry (Chicago), April 1913. 



in Cawpni and Ripostes, and to the translations of The Sonnets andBallate 
of Guido Cavaicantiy and The Can^oni of Arnaut Daniel (now in pub- 
lisher's hands). It has been my hope that this work will help to break the 
surface of convention and that the raw matter, and analysis of primitive 
systems may be of use in building the new art of metrics and of words. 

The 'Yawp' is respected from Denmark to Bengal, but we can't stop 
with the 'Yawp.' We have no longer any excuse for not taking up the 
complete art. 

You must use your own discretion about printing this batch of verses. 
At any rate, don't use them until you've used ' H.D.' and Aldington, s.v.p. 

9: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 22 October 

Dear Harriet Monroe: I'm willing to stand alone I make 

three enemies in a line — ' Noyes, Figgis, Abercrombie.' ... I raise up for 
Abercrombie passionate defenders (vid. R. Brooke in the next Poetry 
Review). Even Brooke can find little to say for Noyes, and nothing for 

Until someone is honest we get nothing clear. The good work is 
obscured, hidden in the bad. I go about this London hunting for the real. 
I find paper after paper, person after person, mildly affirming the opinion 
of someone who hasn't cared enough about the art to tell what he actually 

It's only when a few men who know, get together and disagree that any 
sort of criticism is born. ... I can give you my honest opinion from the 
firing line, from ' the inside.' I'm the kind of ass that believes in the public 
intelligence. I believe your 'big business men' would rather hear a 
specialist's opinion, even if it's wrong, than hear a rumor, a dilutation. My 
own belief is that the public is sick of lukewarm praise of the mediocre. . . . 

It isn't as if I were set in a groove. I read any number of masters, and 
recognize any number of kinds of excellence. But Fiji sick to loathing of 
people who don't care for the master- work, who set out as artists with no 
intention of producing it, who make no effort toward the best, who are 
content with publicity and the praise of reviewers. I think the worst 
betrayal you could make is to pretend for a moment that you are content 
with a parochial standard. You're subsidized, you don't have to placate the 
public at once. . . . 


19 1 2— aetat 26 

Masefield was acclaimed. Nobody dared to say one word the other way. 
The people who cared were puzzled. Here was something strange — one 
liked his plays, or his sea-ballads, or something. . . . One lady said, 'It's 
glorified Sims.' Several people liked 'the end.' Et ego suggested that he 
would probably be the Tennyson of this generation. One man said: 'He 
will appeal to lots of people who don't like poetry but who like to think 
they like poetry.' . . . 

If one is going to print opinions that the public already agrees with, what is 
the use of printing y em at all? Good art can't possibly be palatable all at 
once. . . . 

Quiller-Couch wrote me a delightful old-world letter a week ago. He 
hoped I did not despise the great name Victorian, and he wanted to put me 
in the Oxford Book of Victorian Verse. This is no smrll honor — at least I 
should count it a recognition. Nevertheless he had hit on two poems which 
I had marked 'to be omitted' from the next edition of my work, and I've 
probably mortally offended him by telling him so. At least I haven't heard 
from him again. This is what happens if you've got a plymouth-rock con- 
science landed on predilection for the arts. . . . 

If a man writes six good lines he is immortal — isn't that worth trying 
for? Isn't it worth while having one critic left who won't say a thing is good 
until he is ready to stake his whole position on the decision? . . . 

Twenty pages a month is O.K. — there's that much good stuff written. 
You don't want the Henry Van Dyke kind — I'll write personally to any- 
one you do want. 

The French laugh, but it's not a corrosive or hostile laughter. In fact, 
good art thrives in an atmosphere of parody. Parody is, I suppose, the best 
criticism — it sifts the durable from the apparent. 

I've got a right to be severe. For one man I strike there are ten to strike 
back at me. I stand exposed. It hits me in my dinner invitations, in my 
weekends, in reviews of my own work. Nevertheless it's a good fight. 

10: To Harriet Monroe 

London, December 

Dear Miss Monroe: Yes, the ' Related Things' is more to my fancy. I had 
no intention of trying to exclude you from your own magazine but you 
know as well as I do that you could have written the 'Nogi' in four lines 
if you'd had time to do so. 

I've sent the 30 dollars to Tagore. 



For gord's sake don't print anything of mine that you think will kill 
the Magazine, but so far as I personally am concerned the public can go to 
the devil. It is the function of the public to prevent the artist's expression 
by hook or by crook. Ancora e ancora. But be sure of this much that I 
won't quarrel with you over what you see fit to put in the scrap basket. 

I am, however, sending you a series of things 1 herewith which ought to 
appear almost intact or not at all. 

Given my head I'd stop any periodical in a week, only we are bound 
to run five years anyhow, we're in such a beautiful position to save 
the public's soul by punching its face that it seems a crime not to do 

P.S. Yes, do chuck out 'the last one' — whichever it may be 2 — it's pro- 
bably very bad. 

1 The 'series of things' were additions to the * Contemporania' poems. 

2 'The Epilogue,' vide supra, p. 45. 



ii: To Homer L. Pound 

London, January 

Dear Dad: A deal of dull mail this A.M. Wrote yesterday 

or day before, didn't 1 ? At least I can't think of anything much that's new. 

Note from Tagore who has retired to Urbana, 111., where, as he says, his 
friends * out of their kindness of heart ' leave him pretty much alone. 

There is a charming tale of the last Durbar anent R.T. One Bengali here 
in London was wailing to W.B.Y. 'How can one speak of patriotism of 
Bengal, when our greatest poet has written this ode to the King?' And 
Yeats taxing one of Rabindranath's students elicited this response. 'Ah! I 
will tell you about that poem. The national committee came to Mr. Tagore 
and asked him to write something for the reception. And as you know Mr. 
Tagore is very obliging. And all that afternoon he tried to write them a 
poem, and he could not. And that evening the poet as usual retired to his 
meditation. And in the morning he descended with a sheet of paper. He 
said "Here is a poem I have written. It is addressed to the deity. But you 
may give it to the national committee. Perhaps it will content them.'" 

The joke, which is worthy of Voltaire, is for private consumption only, 
as it might be construed politically if it were printed. 

Well, I've got to get on to affari. 

12: To Alice Corbin Henderson 

London, March 

Dear A.CH.: I enclose some more Tagore for the May number. The one 
marked ' 10 ' has gone to The Atlantic, but if they haven't yet accepted it 
you can use it. It will save time for you to write them direct. Say that you 
are going to use it unless they reply ' by return post that they are.' 
Have just discovered another Amur'kn. 1 Vurry Amur'k'n, with, I 

1 Robert Frost. 
D 49 


think, the seeds of grace. Have reviewed an advance copy of his book, but 
have run it out too long. Will send it as soon as I've tried to condense it — 
also some of his stuff if it isn't all in the book. 

13: To Harriet Monroe 

London, March 

Dear H.M.: Congratulations on March. While it contains nothing wildly 
interesting, it contains nothing, or rather no group of poems, which is 
wholly disgusting. I think the average 'feel* of the number is as good as 
you've done. 

My prose is bad, but on ne peut pas pontifier and have style simul- 
taneously. I didn't set out for a literary composition or an oration. Still I 
wish I'd done it a bit better — not that I care about convincing fools. 
A formal treatise decently written would have taken forty pages any- 

I'm glad you're going to print ' Bill,' i.e. Wm. Carlos Williams. 

McCoy needs licking worse than anyone else in March. The Davis per- 
son has a tendency toward seeing things, also howling need of training. 
Noyes adapts 'Bringing in the Sheaves' less amusingly than Lindsay did 
'The Bloody Lamb,' also Alfred still lolls on the Kipple. 

Goethe is dead (in the physical sense). 

'I am called liberty' does not make a fetching termination to a poem. 

Neither is there any valuable denouement in ending, full close, maxi- 
mum impression desirable, etc., strong pull, 'years' and 'tears.' Harmless 
rime, but to use it as ' ornament' on return to the ' tonic' especially after he 
had spent a little thought on his rimes earlier in the poem. No, Mr. Tor- 
rence, vous n'Stes pas artiste. — / — / 

Good god ! isn't there one of them that can write natural speech without 
copying cliches out of every Eighteenth Century poet still in the public 
libraries? God knows I wallowed in archaisms in my vealish years, but 
these imbeciles don't even take the trouble to get an archaism, which might 
be silly and picturesque, but they get phrases out of just the stupidest and 
worst-dressed periods. 

Oft in the stilly night I dallied in the glade 

On the banks of the Schuylkill as often I strayed. 

The Davis person has caught up with 1890, like Kennerly, only she plys 
the Celtic oar. 


1913 — aetat 2 7 

I think you are probably taking the best of what comes in, but I do now 
and then have a twinge of curiosity about what is being cast out. 

Honestly, besides yourself and Mrs. Henderson, whom do you know 
who takes the Art of poetry seriously? As seriously that is as a painter 
takes painting? Who Cares? Who cares whether or no a thing is really 
well done? Who in America believes in perfection and that nothing short 
of it is worth while? Who would rather quit once and for all than go on 
turning out shams? Who will stand for a level of criticism even when it 
throws out most of their own work? 

I know there are a lovely lot who want to express their own person- 
alities, I have never doubted it for an instant. Only they mostly won't take 
the trouble to find out what is their own personality. 

What, what honestly, would you say to the workmanship of U.S. verse 
if you found it in a picture exhibit ? ? ? ? ? ? 

I want to know, we've got to get acquainted somehow. I don't think I 
underestimate the difficulty of your position. 

I think so far as possible you and Mrs. Henderson should do all the 
prose that is done at your end. Unless you find someone with special 
knowledge on some special topic. The editorial staff ought by now to be 
assuming a * tone,' a more or less uniform tenor — with an occasional pro- 
test from without, if without dares to dispute with us. 

Oh well. Honestly, 'They,' the American brood, have ears like ele- 
phants and no sense of the English language. And as for Amur'k'n, Geo. 
H. Lorimer and Geo. Ade speak it better than they do. To say nothing of 
the G-lorious O. Henry deceased. And I think you are doing very well 
with them. 

Bynner is at least aware of life as apart from brochures. Yet he himself 
is most aptly described in just that ultimate term 'brochure.' And his tone 
of thought smacks of the pretty optimism of McClure and E. W. Wilcox. 
If America should bring forth a real pessimist — not a literary pessimist — I 
should almost believe. 

14: To Harriet Monroe 

London, March 

Dear H.M.: Sorry I can't work this review 1 down to any smaller dimen- 
sions ! However, it can't be helped. Yes it can. I've done the job better than 
I thought I could. And it's our second scoop, for I only found the man by 

1 His review of Robert Frost's A Boys Will, Poetry (Chicago), May 191 3. 



accident and I think I've about the only copy of the book that has left the 

FU have along some of his work, if the book hasn't used up all the best 
of it. Anyhow, we'll have some of him in a month or so. 

I think we should print this notice at once as we ought to be first and 
some of the reviewers here are sure to make fuss enough to get quoted in 

The Current Gossip (God what a sheet!!!!) seems to have taken 
Tagore hook and all. Current Opinion (March number). However, it serves 
as illustration of what I said a while back. These fools don't know any- 
thing and at the bottom of their wormy souls they know they don't and 
their name is legion and if once they learn that we do know and that we are 
'in' first, they'll come to us to get all their thinking done for them and in 
the end the greasy vulgus will be directed by us. And we will be able to do 
a deal more for poetry indirectly than we could with just our $5,000 per 

And for that reason we can and must be strict and infallible and the 
more enemies we make, up to a certain number, the better, for there is 
nothing reviewers like better than calling each other liars. The thing is to 
herd the worst fools into the opposition at the start and then the rest can 
occupy their combative impulses in slaying them. 

15: To Harriet Monroe 

London^ March 

Dear H.M.: I hear that the International is going to start on Vildrac and 
Romains. If they haven't printed their stuff (mere translations and pro- 
bably bad), I think it our sacred duty to forestall them by printing that 
D ! !d rigamarole of C.V.'s at once. 

Oh, oh, oh, this vulgar haste for journalistic priority, and from sancti- 
fied me ! ! ! at that. However we've got to be it, first in the hearts of our 
countrymen, etc. 

Frost seems to have put his best stuff into his book, but we'll have 
something from him as soon as he has done it, 'advanced' or whatever you 
call it. Lawrence has brought out a vol. He is clever; I don't know whether 
to send in a review or not. We seem pretty well stuffed up with matter at 
the moment. (D. H. Lawrence, whom I mentioned in my note on the 
Georgian Anthology.) Detestable person but needs watching. I think he 
learned the proper treatment of modern subjects before I did. That was in 


1913— aetat 27 

some poems in The Eng. Rev.; can't tell whether he hjs progressed or 
retrograded as I haven't seen the book yet. He may have published merely 
on his prose rep. 

P.S. Who the deuce is Elsa Barker? Says she has 5600 lines in her last 
vol., which sounds suspicious. Otherwise, personally agreeable with a 
Christian Science voice. 

16: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 30 March 

Dear Miss Monroe: I'm deluded enough to think there is a rhythmic 

system in the d stuff, and I believe I was careful to type it as I wanted 

it written, i.e., as to line ends and breaking and capitals. Certainly I want 
the line you give, written just as it is. 

Dawn enters with little feet 

like a gilded Pavlova. 

In the ' Metro' hokku, I was careful, I think, to indicate spaces between the 
rhythmic units, and I want them observed. 

Re the enclosed sheet from your letter. 1 It never occurred to me that 
passage (A.) would shock anyone. If you want to take the responsibility 
for replacing it with asterisks, go ahead. 

Personally I think it would weaken it to say ' Speak well of John Wana- 
maker who pays his shop-girls 5 dollars per week, and of others who do 
the same.' Child labour needs a villanelle all to itself. 

Passage (B.) honi soit ! Surely the second line might refer to the chastest 
joys of paradise. Has our good nation read the Song of Songs? No, really, 
I think this ought to stay. The tragedy as I see it is the tragedy of finer 

1 Miss Monroe had objected to the following passages: 

A. Speak well of amateur harlots , 
Speak well of disguised procurers. 
Speak well of shop-walkers. 
Speak well of employers of women. 

(from 'Reflection and Advice') 

B. Go to those who have delicate lusts 

Go to those whose delicate desires are thwarted. 

(from 'Commission') 

C. how hideous it is 

To see three generations of one house gathered together. 
(from ' Commission ') 



desire drawn, merely by being desire at all, into the grasp of the grosser 
animalities. G — d! you can't emasculate literature utterly. You can't 
expect modern work to even look in the direction of Greek drama until we 
can again treat actual things in a simple and direct manner. 

Morte di Cristo! Read the prefaces to Shelley written just after his 
death, where the editor is trying to decide whether Shelley's work is of 
sufficient importance to make up for his terrible atheism ! ! ! 

As to passage (C): A poem is supposed to present the truth of passion, 
not the casuistical decision of a committee of philosophers. I expect some 
time to do a hymn in praise of 'race' or 'breed,' but here I want to say 
exactly what I do say. We've had too much of this patriarchal sentimen- 
tality. Family affection is occasionally beautiful. Only people are much too 
much in the habit of taking it for granted that it is always so. 

In my opinion (B.) and (C.) ought to stand. (A.) I don't care 
about. — / — / 

The 'Pact' and the 'Epilogue' could go. I should certainly substitute 
the enclosed 'Salutation' for the 'Epilogue,' and for the Whitman if there 
isn't room for both. 

I can't remember quite what I've sent you and what I haven't, but I 
won't trouble you now with other alternative pieces. 

I shall send you two or three pages of very short poems later, if you 
survive the April number. I'm aiming the new volume for about the 

Again to your note: ' Risqu£.' Now really ! ! ! Do you apply that term to 
all nude statuary? I admit the verse 'To Another Man on his Wife' might 
deserve it, but you're not including that. Surely you don't regard the 
Elizabethans as 'risquS'? It's a charming word but I don't feel that I've 
quite qualified. 

As to getting out a number that will please me; I diink it is a possible 
feat, tho' I'd probably have to choose the contents myself. When you do 
finally adopt my scale of criticism you will, yes, you actually will find a 
handful of very select readers who will be quite delighted, and the aegrum 
and tiercely accursed groveling vulgus will be too scared by the array of 
delightees to utter more than a very faint moan of protest. 

I want the files of this periodical to be prized and vendible in 1999. 
Quixotic of me ! and very impractical? 

The good Hessler once assured the seminar that it might as well agree 
with me in the first place because it was bound to do so in the end out of 
sheer exhaustion. You may pay my respects to the U.S.A. at large and 
assure them that this truth is of even wider application. Or Veritas pare- 
valebit as I should have said some centuries ago. 


1913— aetat 27 

I do hope you'll print my instructions to neophytes 1 (sent to A.C.H.) 
soon. That will enable our contributors to solve some of their troubles at 

Oh well, enough of this, if I'm to catch the swiftest boat. 

17: To Harriet Monroe 

Sirmione, 22 April 

Dear H.M.: God knows / didn't ask for the job of correcting Tagore. He 
asked me to. Also it will be very difficult for his defenders in London if he 
takes to printing anything except his best work. As a religious teacher he is 
superfluous. We've got Lao Tse. And his (Tagore's) philosophy hasn't 
much in it for a man who has 'felt the pangs' or been pestered with 
Western civilization. I don't mean quite that, but he isn't either Villon or 
Leopardi, and the modern demands just a dash of their insight. So long as 
he sticks to poetry he can be defended on stylistic grounds against those 
who disagree with his content. And there's no use his repeating the Vedas 
and other stuff that has been translated. In his original Bengali he has the 
novelty of rime and rhythm and of expression, but in a prose translation it 
is just 'more theosophy.' Of course if he wants to set a lower level than 
diat which I am trying to set in my translations from Kabir, I can't help it. 
It's his own affair. 

Rec'd £28, with thanks, salaams etc. 

Dell is very consoling. It's clever of him to detect the Latin tone. 2 
I don't doubt that the diings Frost sent you were very bad. But he has 
done good things and whoever rejected 'em will go to hell along with 
Harper's and The Atlantic. After my declaration of his glory he'll have to 
stay out of print for a year in order not to 'disappoint' the avid reader. 
Sdrieusement, I'll pick out whatever of his inedited stuff is fit to print — 
when I get back to London. — / — / 

1 'A Few Don'ts by an Imagist,' Poetry (Chicago), March 19 13. Vide 'A Stray 
Document,' Make It New. 

2 The reference is to the epigrams in ' Contemporania. ' Floyd Dell had written 
of them in the Chicago Evening Post, 1 1 April 191 3. 


iS: To Isabel W. Pound 

Venice j May 

Dear Mother: Your remarks on Mow diet and sedentary life' are ludi- 
crously inappropriate — if that's any comfort to you. As to the cup of joy I 
dare say I do as well as most in face of the spectacle of human imbecility. 

As to practicality. I should think with the two specimens you hold up 
to me, you'd be about through with your moralization on that subject. 
Surely the elder generation (A.F. and T.C.P.) attended to this world's 
commerce with a certain assiduity, and camped not in the fields of the 

I don't suppose America has more fools per acre than other countries, 
still your programme of the Ethical Society presents no new argument for 
my return. 

All Venice went to a rather interesting concert at 'La Fenice' on Wed- 
nesday; and I also, thanks to Signora Brass, for the entrance is mostly by 

I don't know whether you remember the very beautiful 18th century 
theatre, but it's a place where you might meet anyone from Goethe to 

I enclose what I believe to be a Donatello madonna and an interior 
which I don't think you saw. At least I wasn't with you if you did see it. 

I can't be bothered to read a novel in 54 vols. Besides I know the man 
who translated Jean Christophe, and moreover it's a popular craze so I 
suppose something must be wrong with it. 

Have you tried Butler? Way of All Flesh and his Diary (I think that's 
what they call it). 

I shall go to Munich next week and thence to London. 

P.S. The Doolittles are here, p£re et mire. Also Hilda and Richard. 

19: To Harriet Monroe 

London, May 

Dear H.M.: I've been so fortunate as to get some prose from Hueffer. It is 
in a way excerpts from a longer essay and even so it is really too long* but 
he is willing to let us have it as it stands and count it as twelve (or ten, we 
ought to call it 12) pages. 1 1 think we ought even to print a few pages extra 

1 'Impressionism,' Poetry (Chicago), September 1913. 

1913— aetat 27 * 

rather than cut it much, as it will be a considerable boost to our prose dept. 

Have just sent it to typist by special messenger. Hope it will come in 
time for Aug. as I'd rather have it there than with my lot of stuff in Sept. 
However that must be as it may. It can't go in later than Sept. as it is going 
into a book here. The thing will be all the prose in the number except the 
very brief notices. But it will be the best prose we've had or are likely to get. 

Clear the decks for it, s.v.p. 

20: To Homer L. Pound 

London, 3 June 

Dear Dad: Thanks for your cheerful letter. If there is any joy in having 
found one's 'maximum utility,' 1 should think you might have it, with 
your asylum for the protection of the unfortunate. As for T.C., it is rather 
fine to see the old bird still holding out, still thinking he'll do something, 
and that he has some shreds of influence. 

I'll try to get you a copy of Frost. I'm using mine at present to boom 
him and get his name stuck about. He has done a ' Death of the Farm 
Hand' since the book that is to my mind better than anything in it. I shall 
have that in the Smart Set or in Poetry before long. 

Whitman is a hard nutt. The Leaves of Grass is the book. It is impos- 
sible to read it without swearing at the author almost continuously. Begin 
on the 'Songs of Parting' — perhaps on the last one which is called 'So 
Long ! ', that has I suppose nearly all of him in it. 

We had a terribly literary dinner on Saturday. Tagore, his son and 
daughter-in-law, Hewlett, May Sinclair, Prothero (edt. Quarterly Rev.), 
Evelyn Underhill (author of divers fat books on mysticism), D. and 

Tagore and Hewlett in combination are mildly amusing. (I believe 
Hewlett's Lore of Persephone is good, but haven't yet seen it.) 

Tagore lectured very finely last night. I enclose a note from Koli Mohon 
Ghose, who has been translating Kabir with me. The translation comes out 
in the Calcutta Modern Rev. this month. 

Prothero is doing my article on troubadours in the Quarterly, as I think 
I wrote. 

Am finishing the Patria Mia, book, for Seymour and doing a tale of 
Bertrans de Born. 

Hope Aug. Poetry will have some stuff by a chap named Cann^H whom 
I rooted up in Paris, a Philadelphian. 



W. R<ummel> is playing at Mrs. Fowler's Friday, before his pub. 

W. G. Lawrence down from Oxford yesterday. Good fellow, going out 
to India next winter. 

Am playing tennis with Hueffer in the afternoons. 

I'm promised that 1 shall meet De Gourmont and Anatole France, 
intime, next time I go to Paris; that also pleases me. 

'Ortus' means 'birth* or 'springing out* — same root in 'orient.' 
'Strachey' is actually the edtr. of The Spectator ', but I use him as the type 
of male prude, somewhere between Tony Comstock and Hen. Van Dyke. 
Even in America we've nothing that conveys his exact shade of meaning. 
I've adopted the classic Latin manner in mentioning people by name. 

Love to you and mother. Salutations to the entourage. Cheer up, ye 
ain't dead yet. And as Tourgeneff says, most everything else is curable. 

21 : To Harriet Monroe 

London^ 13 August 

Dear H.M.: Right-O. I am eased in my mind about the Hueffer matter. 
If, yes it's jolly well if, the poets would send in that sort of stuff. F.M.H. 
happens to be a serious artist. The unspeakable vulgo will I suppose hear 
of him after our deaths. In the meantime they whore after their Bennetts 
and their Galsworthys and their unspeakable canaille. He and Yeats are the 
two men in London. And Yeats is already a sort of great dim figure with 
its associations set in the past. 

I'm sending you our left wing, The Freewoman. I've taken charge of the 
literature dept. It will be convenient for things whereof one wants the 
Eng. copyright held. I pay a dmd. low rate, but it might be worth while as 
a supplement to some of your darlings. So far Johns and Kilmer are about 
the only ones I care to welcome. 

Orage says he has written you giving grounds for declining to ex- 
change. I can do nothing more. Am beginning a series of articles in The 
New Age next week, on ' The Approach to Paris.' 

Will tell The Freewoman to exchange. They will. 

Miss Lowell is back from Paris, and pleasingly intelligent. 

Yours, after a morning of trying to write prose. Disjecta membra. 


1913— aetat 27 

22: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 13 August 

Dear H.M.: Here is the Fletcher. I'd like to use the full sequence. I sup- 
pose that's hopeless to suggest. 

Of course my Lustra lose by being chopped into sections and I suppose 
J.G.F. will have to suffer in like manner. Anyhow, do hack out ten or a 
dozen pages in some way that will establish the tone and in some way 
present the personality, the force behind this new and amazing state of 

Am sending the review of him and the Frost poem shortly. 

Of course one of Fletcher's strongest claims to attention is his ability to 
make a book, as opposed to the common or garden faculty of making a 
'Poem,' and if you don't print a fairish big gob of him, you don't do him 
justice or stir up the reader's ire and attention. 

23: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 23 September 

Dear H.M.: Lawrence, as you know, gives me no particular pleasure. 
Nevertheless we are lucky to get him. Hueffer, as you know, thinks highly 
of him. I recognise certain qualities of his work. If I were an editor I should 
probably accept his work without reading it. As a prose writer I grant him 
first place among the younger men. 

I want you to use a bunch of Fletcher's things before you use Lawrence. 
In fact I send these things along only on the supposition that they won't 
delay Fletcher's appearance. I should be glad however, if you would 
choose what you want, at once, and return the rest. Lawrence ought to 
have five or six pages. Fletcher ditto or more. 

Upward is a very interesting chap. He says, by the way, that the Chinese 
stuff is not a paraphrase, but that he made it up out of his head, using a 
certain amount of Chinese reminiscence. I think we should insert a note to 
that effect, as the one in the current number is misleading. 


24: To Harriet Monroe 

London (? September) 

Dear Miss Monroe: Heaven knows this is the briefest and hastiest of sum- 
maries. And the facts — are old enough. 

Yet you are dead right when you say that American knowledge of 
French stops with Hugo. And — dieu le sait — there are few enough people 
on this stupid little island who know anything beyond Verlaine and 
Baudelaire — neither of whom is the least use, pedagogically, I mean. 
They beget imitation and one can learn nothing from them. Whereas 
Gautier and de Gourmont carry forward the art itself, and the only way 
one can imitate them is by making more profound your knowledge of the 
very marrow of art. 

There's no use in a strong impulse if it is all or nearly all lost in bungling 
transmission and technique. This obnoxious word that I'm always bran- 
dishing about means nothing but a transmission of the impulse intact. It 
means that you not only get the thing off your own chest, but that you get 
it into some one else's. Yrs. ever pedagogically. 

25: To Alice Corbin Henderson 

London, October 

Dear Mrs. Henderson: I wonder if Miss Monroe can get my memento into 
the 'notes and announcements' section — right away. I know the Mercure 
is held as old-fashioned but Duhamel's notes would be very good for 
Sterling and various others if they could be got to read 'em. The sooner 
we get this intercommunication working, the better. 

Postscript, varii: 

Dear Mrs. Henderson: I don't see where we're to find space for that 
prose of Cournos', but it is his own and is at least direct treatment of life. 
And he is a good chap who has risked physical comfort for the good of his 
soul in leaving a steady job. 

Frances Gregg has done a permissible poem. I've told her to send it 
direct with whatever else she thinks decent. 

I wonder if Poetry really dares to devote a number to my new work. 
There'll be a howl. They won't like it. It's absolutely the last obsequies of 
the Victorian period. I won't permit any selection or editing. It stands now 
a series of 24 poems, most of them very short. 


1913— aetat 28 

I'd rather they appeared after H.M. has published 'The Garden' and 
whatever else of that little lot she cares to print, as a sort of preparation for 
the oncoming horror. There'll probably be 40 by the time I hear from you. 
It's not futurism and it's not post-impressionism, but it's work contem- 
porary with those schools and to my mind the most significant that I have 
yet brought off. 

Butt they won't like it. They won't object as much as they did to Whit- 
man's outrages, because the stamina of stupidity is weaker. I guarantee you 
one thing. The reader will not be bored. He will say ahg, ahg, ahh, ahhh, 
but-bu-bu-but this isn't Poetry. 

Six years ago, there wasn't an editor in the U.S. who would print so 
staid and classic a work as 'La Fraisne.' 

This series of poems is PREposterous. I refer you to the article 'The 
Open Door' in the Nov. number. 

I expect a number of people will regard the series as pure blague. Still, I 
give you your chance to be modern, to go blindfoldedly to be modern, to 
produce as many green bilious attacks throughout the length and breadth 
of the U.S.A. as there are fungoid members of the American academy. I 
announce the demise of R. U. Johnson and all his foetid generation. 

16: To Amy Lowell 

London (? November) 

Dear Miss Lowell: I'd like to use your 'In a Garden' in a brief anthology 
Des Imagistes that I am cogitating — unless you've something that you 
think more appropriate. 

As to the enclosed: J.G. apparently did go walking, but it don't seem to 
have taken him long. 

Most of my intervening activities will be conveyed to you in print. 

The gods attend you. 

27: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 7 November 

Dear H.M.: Re your letter of Oct. 13th etc. There is no earthly reason 
why Poetry shouldn't ' reach England.' 'England' is dead as mutton. If 
Chicago (or the U.S.A. or whatever) will slough off its provincialism, if it 
will begin to be aware of Paris (or of anyjother centre save London), if it 
will feed on all fruit, and produce strength fostered on alert digestion-— 



there's no reason for Chicago or Poetry or whatever not being the stan- 

We've a better list of contributors than any English magazine of poetry 
(which ain't saying much — but still ). 

There's a very decent notice of us in La Vie des Lettres. 

Until 'we' accept what I've been insisting on for a decade, i.e., a univer- 
sal standard which pays no attention to time or country — a Weltlitteratur 
standard — there is no hope. And England hasn't yet accepted such a stan- 
dard, so we've plenty of chance to do it first. 

I'm trying to say as much in The Quarterly Review, but heaven knows 
if I'll succeed. (They've printed my 'Troubadours.') 

I'm asking Hueffer for more prose, you seemed to like it. 

About the change of format. Unless you can go on being subsidized 
after the end of the 5 years, I think one must seriously consider it. I don't 
want a great wodge of prose, but about double what we have at present. 

Again and again and again. The gods do not care about lines of political 
geography. If there are poets in the U.S.??? Anyhow, they oughtn't to be 
poisoned in infancy by being fed parochial standards. 

Gald6s, Flaubert, Tourgenev, see them all in a death struggle with pro- 
vincial stupidity (or Jammes in ' La Triomphe de la Vie '). All countries are 
equally damned, and all great art is born of the metropolis (or in the metro- 
polis). The metropolis is that which accepts all gifts and all heights of 
excellence, usually the excellence that is tabu in its own village. The metro- 
polis is always accused by the peasant of ' being mad after foreign notions.' 

By the way The Glebe is to do our Imagiste anthology. There'll be 
various reprints from Poetry. 

Re the rest: All I want is that the 'American artist' presuming that he 
exist shall use not merely London, but Paris, London, Prague or wherever, 
as a pace-maker. And that he cease to call him champion for having done 
100 yds. in 14 seconds merely because there's no one around to beat him 
(world's record being presumably 9 85/100). 

28: To Isabel W. Pound 

London, November 

Dear Mother: I plan to spend my birthday largesse in the purchase of four 
luxurious undershirts. Or rather I had planned so to do; if, however, the 
bloody guardsman who borrowed my luxurious hat from the Cabaret 
cloak room {not by accident) does not return the same, I shall probably 
divert certain shekels from the yeagen 


1913— aetat 28 

Upward's Divine Mystery is just out, Garden City Press, Letchworth. 
His The New Word has been out some time; the library may have the 
anonymous edtn. 

My stay in Stone Cottage will not be in the least profitable. I detest the 
country. Yeats will amuse me part of the time and bore me to death with 
psychical research the rest. I regard the visit as a duty to posterity. 

Current Opinion is an awful sheet. Merely the cheapest rehash of the 
cheapest journalistic opinion, ma chef No periodical is ever much good. 
Am sending the Quarterly which is at least respectable. I hope you don't 
think I read the periodicals I appear in. 

I am fully aware of The New Age's limitations. Still the editor is a good 

fellow — his literary taste is unfortunate. Most of the paper's 

bad manners, etc. . . . 

I seem to spend most of my time attending to other people's affairs, 
weaning young poetettes from obscurity into the glowing pages of divers 
rotten publications, etc. Besieging the Home Office to let that ass Kemp 
stay in the country for his own good if not for its. Conducting a literary 
kindergarten for the aspiring, etc., etc. 

Richard and Hilda were decently married last week, or the week before, 
as you have doubtless been notified. Brigit Patmore is very ill but they 
have decided to let her live, which is a mercy as there are none too many 
charming people on the planet. 

Met Lady Low in Bond St. Friday, 'returned from the jaws of death,' 
just back. 

The Old Spanish Masters show is the best loan exhibit I have yet seen. 
The post-Impressionist show is also interesting. 

Epstein is a great sculptor. I wish he would wash, but I believe Michel 
Angelo never did, so I suppose it is part of the tradition. Also it is nearly 
impossible to appear clean in London; perhaps he does remove some of 
the grime. 

Anyhow it is settled that you come over in the Spring. If dad can't 
come then, we'll try to arrange that for the year after. I shall come back 
here from Sussex (mail address will be here all the time, as I shall be up 
each Monday). You will come over in April; at least you will plan to be 
here for May and June. Once here you can hang out at Duchess St. quite 
as cheaply as you could at home. 

I shall go to a Welsh lake later in the season instead of going to Garda in 
the Spring. Having been in the country thru' the winter I shall probably 
not need spring cleaning. 

If I am to get anything done this day, I must be off and at it. 

Love to you and dad. 



29: To Amy Lowell 

Coleman! *s Hatch, 26 November 

Dear Miss Lowell: I agree with you that 'binding* is better than 'a- 
binding' and that 'Harriet' is a bloody fool. Also I've resigned from 
Poetry in Hueffer's favour, but I believe he has resigned in mine and I 
don't yet know whether Fm shed of the bloomin' paper or not. 

I'm deaved to death with multifarious affairs. I think Duhamel on 
schools was amusing but more needed in Paris than here, where yr. humbl. 
svt. is the only person with guts enough to turn a proselyte into a disciple. 

W.B.Y. and I are very placid in the country. 

Do send on yr. poemae. Perhaps I can pick some paragraphs out of the 
Duhamel when I get a breathing space. Will use some of the last batch, 
prose also — with a substitution of 'paragraphs' for 'pages.' If there are 
translations you might mark what from. Or if your own you might say 

30: To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman s Hatch, 8 December 

Dear H.M.: All right, but I do not see that there was anything for me to 
have done save resign at the time I did so. I don't think you have yet tried 
to see the magazine from my viewpoint. 

I don't mind the award as it seems to be Yeats who makes it, or at least 
'suggests/ and as you have my own contrary suggestion for the disposal 
of the money made before I knew Lindsay had been otherwise provided 

For the rest, if I stay on the magazine it has got to improve. It's all very 
well for Yeats to be ceremonious in writing to you, a stranger, and in a 
semi-public letter. Nobody holds him responsible for the rot that goes into 
the paper. 

I am willing to reconsider my resignation pending a general improve- 
ment of the magazine, and I will not have my name associated with it un- 
ess it does improve. 


1913— aetat 28 

31: To William Carlos Williams 

Coleman s Hatch, 19 December 

Deer Bull: Thanks for your good letter. Almost you make me think for a 
moment that I might come to America. Dolce nido, etc. There are still a 
half dozen people there. 

I suppose you've seen Demuth about The Glebe —if not take my intro- 
duction to Alfred Kreymborg . They ought to do yr. book. 

They're doing the anthology. 

I am very placid and happy and busy. Dorothy is learning Chinese. I've 
all old Fenollosa's treasures in mss. 

Have just bought two statuettes from the coming sculptor, Gaudier- 
Brzeska. I like him very much. He is the only person with whom I can 
really be 'Altaforte.' Cournos I like also. We are getting our little gang 
after five years of waiting. You must come over and get the air — if only 
for a week or so in the spring. 

Richard is now running the N(ew) F(reewoman) which is now to 
appear as The Egoist. You must subscribe as the paper is poor, i.e. weak 
financially. The Mercure de France has taken to quoting us, however. It is 
the best way to keep in touch. 

I wish Gwen could study with Brzeska. 

Yeats is much finer intime than seen spasmodically in the midst of the 
whirl. We are both, I think, very contented in Sussex. He returned $200 
of that award with orders that it be sent to me — and it has been. Hence the 
sculptural outburst and a new typewriter of great delicacy. 

About your 'La Flor': it is good. It is gracious also, but that is aside the 
point for the moment. Your vocabulary in it is right. Your syntax still 
strays occasionally from the simple order of natural speech. 

I think I shall print 'La Flor' in The Egoist. 

I think 'gracious* is the word I should apply to it also as a critic. It is 
dignified. It has the air of Urbino. I don't know about your coming over. 
I still think as always that in the end your work will hold. After all you 
have the rest of a lifetime. Thirty real pages are enough for any of us to 
leave. There is scarce more of Catullus or Villon. 

You may get something slogging away by yourself that you would miss 
in The Vortex — and that we miss. It would be shorter perhaps if one of us 
would risk an Atlantic passage. 

Of course Gwen ought to come over. I haven't heard from her for long, 
and from V. only a newspaper cutting. 
E 65 


Damn ! Why haven't I a respectable villa of great extent and many 

Dondo has turned up again after years of exile. He is in Paris, has met 
De Gourmont. We printed a page of his stuff, verse, in The N.F. last 
week. I think he will do somediing. 

If you haven't had that paper, send for back numbers since Aug. 15 th. 

Cournos has just come in. Shall mail this at once. 

32: To Isabel W. Pound 

Slowgk {more or less), 24 December 

Dear Mother: Am down here for a week with the Hueffers in a dingy old 
cottage that belonged to Milton. F.M.H. and I being the two people who 
couldn't be in the least impressed by the fact, makes it a bit more ironical. 

I can't remember much of what has been going on. Tea with your Mrs. 
Wards in the Temple on Sunday. 

Yeats reading to me up till late Sat. evening, etc. 

Richard gone to Italy. 

Dined with Hewlett sometime or other last week. 

Have written about 20 new poems. 

3 days later: 

Impossible to get any writing done here. Atmosphere too literary. 
3 ' Kreators' all in one ancient cottage is a. bit thick. 

Xmas passed without calamity. 

Have sloshed about a bit in the slush as the weather is pleasingly warm. 
Walked to the Thames yesterday. 

Play chess and discuss style with F.M.H. 

Am not convinced that rural life suits me, at least in winter. 

Love to you and dad. Greetings of the season to Aunt Frank. 



33.' To Amy Lowell 

Coleman 9 s Hatch, & January 

Dear Miss Lowell: No, of course I'm not outraged or enraged or en- 
wrothed — only there's no use my trying to keep up correspondences. 

I expected your stuff to have appeared (Poems) in The Egoist on Jan 
ist, but I have given up direct control and so now I find they won't be in 
until Feb. i or 1 5. They're all going in, I believe. 

The cerebralist hasn't come off, so don't bother with it. 

Yes, I resigned from Poetry in accumulated disgust, and they axed me 
back. And I consented to return 'on condition of general improvement of 
the magazine' — which won't happen — so I shall be compelled to resign 
permanently sometime or other. 

For instance C. Y. Rice in the Dec. number. Can? I? go on leaving my 
name on a paper so that it misleads some guileless Frenchman to believe 
that that is a ' des meilleurs pontes anglais ' ? ? ? ? 

I think J.G.F.'s in same no. shows up very well. 

The trouble with yr. prose was that the Mercure reserves 'translation 
rights' and it couldn't have gone in without^/raccw. 

I don't however believe that there's much use your sending in French 
clippings. The new staff is so much nearer Paris. And ergo. . . . However, I 
think we'd like a brief essay on 'America the lost continent,' 'The Barren 
West,' 'The gt. occidental desert.' 

Until you come over again and make some sort of arrangement, I don't 
believe there's much use in your bothering. 

Yeats sails on the 29th. I don't know his Boston date but I have im- 
pressed you on his mind fiom time to time. Do you want him 'to dine' 
only, or ' to stop' ? — / — / 



34: To Isabel W. Pound 

Coleman s Hatch, January 

Dear Mother: It is rather late in the day to go into the whole question of 
realism in art. I am profoundly pained to hear that you prefer Marie 
Corelli to Stendhal, but I can not help it. 

As for Tagore, you may comfort yourself with the reflection that it was 
Tagore who poked my 'Contemporania' down the Chicago gullet. Or at 
least read it aloud to that board of imbeciles on Poetry and told 'em how 
good the stuff was. 

I do not wish to be mayor of Cincinnati nor of Dayton, Ohio. I do very 
well where I am. London may not be the Paradiso Terrestre, but it is at 
least some centuries nearer it than is St. Louis. 

I believe Sussex agrees with me quite nicely. 

35: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 20 January 

— / — / Postscript: As for your recent number, I would protest against 
the substitution of 'BeP for 'Christ* in Mr. Aldington's 'Lesbia.' 1 Mr. 
Aldington is sufficiently devout but there is no need to pretend that every- 
one subscribes to a bastard faith devised for the purpose of making good 
Roman citizens, or slaves, and which is thoroughly different from that 
originally preached in Palestine. In this sense Christ is thoroughly dead. 
If one is trying to express the passing of die gods, in poetry that expression 
is distinctly weakened by the omission of the one god or demi-god who is 
still popularly accepted. 

A hundred years ago the cast of the Venus de Medici at the Philadelphia 
Academy of Fine Arts was kept in a carefully closed cupboard and shown 
only to those 'who especially desired to see it.' There was one day per 
week reserved for ladies. 

If Mr. Aldington believes more in Delphos than in Nazareth, I can see 
no reason for misrepresenting his creed. For centuries our verse has 

1 The lines originally read 

AndPicus ofMirandola is dead; 
And all the gods they dreamed and fabled of 
Hermes and Thoth and Christ are rotten now, 
Rotten and dank. 


1 9 14— aetat 28 

referred to 'The False Mahound' and thereby done violence to the feelings 
of the countless faithful who alone maintain an uninterrupted prayer to 
their prophet. 

Mr. Allen Upward, whom you have printed to your honour, was, as 
proconsul in Nigeria, always careful to explain to the natives that 
Christianity was not the universal religion of England and that there were 
many who looked upon it as a degrading superstition. I know that he per- 
formed at least one 'miracle' by means of a gnostic gem, and reconverted 
at least one Mohammedan. 

36: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 3 1 January 

Dear H.M.: Here is the Japanese play for April. 1 It will give us some 
reason for existing. I send it in place of my own stuff, and as my name is in 
such opprobrium we will not mention who did the extracting. Anyhow 
Fenollosa's name is enough. 

These plays are in Japanese, part in verse, part in prose. Also I have 
written the stuff as prose where the feet are rather uniform. It will save 
space and keep the thing from filling too much of the number. 

There's a long article with another play to appear in The Quarterly. This 
Nishikigi is too beautiful to be encumbered with notes and long explana- 
tion. Besides I think it is now quite lucid — my landlady and grocer both 
say the story is clear anyhow. Fenollosa, as you probably know, is dead. I 
happen to be acting as literary executor, but no one need know that yet 

I think you will agree with me that this Japanese find is about the best 
bit of luck we've had since the starting of the magazine. I don't put the 
work under the general category of translation either. It could scarcely 
have come before now. The earlier attempts to do Japanese in English are 
dull and ludicrous. That you needn't mention either as the poor scholars 
have done their bungling best. One can not commend the results. The 
best plan is to say nothing about it. This present stuff ranks as re-creation. 
You'll find W.B.Y. also very keen on it. 

1 Nishikigi, printed May 19 14. 


37: To Amy Lowell 

London, 2 February 

Dear Miss Lowell: Yeats sailed Saturday, with your name and address 
carefuly glued into his address-book. 

I suppose The Egoist will run another six months. I don't think an 
American correspondent would save it; you can no more interest London 
in the state of the American mind than you could interest Boston in the 
culture of Dawson or Butte, Montana. 

Your note would be O.K. in Boston, but here I don't think it more than 
echoes the general opinion of every expatriate that any inhabitant has met. 
You refer to things like Schauffler which no one has heard of. It could 
well appear in Poetry where it would cause a little salutary irritation. Here 
it would merely be lost. I think The Egoist might well use something 
solider and more 'reaching.' 

Yes, I thought Fletcher came up very well in Poetry. 

Etc. Interruptions 

May as well send this before it gets mislaid. 

38: To Amy Lowell 

London, 23 February 

Dear Miss Lowell: It is too late to monkey with the Anthology. 

Do you want to edit The Egoist} Present editrix writes me this A.M. 
that she is willing to quit. (This is in confidence.) Of course there is a 
string to it. The paper made enough in the first six months to pay for the 
next three. It is assured up to June. That is, I think, fairly good when one 
considers what it usually takes to get a paper started. I think they have 
been timid. I think it would have paid better to pay an occasional 'selling' 
contributor than to trust too much to voluntary work. With any sort of 
business management the thing ought to pay its expenses, or at least to 
cost so little that it would be worth the fun. A clever manager could make 
it a property (perhaps). 

If the idea amuses you, you should make arrangements for American 
distribution before you come over. 

At present the paper is printed at Southport. An editress and editorial 
secretary are paid, also useless office rent in London. Richard could per- 
fectly well do all that for another ten dollars a month. I don't know how 


1914— aetat 28 

many subscriptions your name is good for in Boston. We've had posters 
well about, and the sales increase, very slowly, but still the thing is creep- 
ing on. 

If you want that sort of lark you could at least have a run for your 

If the damn thing took to buying contributions and possibly to selling 
in the U.S.A. at 5 cents a copy (doubtful????? about this) it might be 
made solid. Of course one would fire Carter and Ricketts and the sex 

If the thing were run seriously, I would, I think, get almost any- 
one to write for half-rate for a while at least. There would be a certain 
amount of creative work. And also a column of fortnightly information 
for the provincial reader, for it is useless to try to circulate a paper that 
implies that all its readers live in London and know everything that's 

The Spectator and New Age etc. pretend to supply a 'complete cul- 
ture* to every reader. It is a bore to the office, but I think it essential to 

People who solidly subscribe to a paper year after year must feel that 
they don't need to subscribe to any other. 

Anyhow. That it is. 

39: To Amy Lowell 

London^ 11 March 

Dear Miss Lowell: Thanks for clippings. I don't know anything more 
about 'The Fountain.' I handed over the bunch of mss. and told 'em to 
print the lot. I don't know at which stage the Fountain leaked; anyhow I 
haven't got it, and you are at liberty to use it. Also to reprint anything that 
has appeared in The Egoist. 

Les Imagistes may get a theatre ('Little' or 'Savoy') chucked at their 
heads, the proposed date is May 26, but it isn't yet settled. I'd like you to 
appear and read some Fort or Jammes. 

July is too late. However the whole thing may be transferred or deferred 
till Autumn so I can't feel justified in urging you to change the date of 
your departure from Abyssinia. 

Yeats was in Chicago, I dare say his mastery of rhythmic simultaneity 
isn't yet sufficiently complete to let him 'Chi' and 'Bost' on the same 


40: To Amy Lowell 

London, 18 March 

Dear Miss Lowell: Re The Egoist. Of course you won't get 

it for nothing unless Miss Marsden can keep her corner or some corner to 
let loose in. She has her own clientele who look for her. 

About the policy and mistakes, you realize that nothing is paid for (save 
the verse sometimes); Aldington and Miss Marsden and a couple of clerks 
get a guinea a week. If people are writing for nothing they only do so on 
condition that they write as they dammmm please. Also one can't afford 
time to write carefully. 

I'm responsible for what I get into the paper but I am at present nearly, 
oh we might as well say quite, powerless to keep anything out. I don't 
think I'd come to Boston save for a salary or guarantees that would equal 
the present gross cost of the paper, or at least the ' expenses.' 

On the other hand I don't give a hang where the thing is printed or who 
runs it. Of course a strong staffis important . . . essential. It won't come for 
being whistled for. 

You can 'run' a paper in Boston and have a staff here. To wit me and 
Hueffer and anybody you've a mind to pay for. — 'Arriet, as you know, 
has that recommendation. Only she will try to pick out contributors for 
herself which is usually, from the point of view of internationality or 
English circulation, fatal. My flair is also at the service of anybody. That 
may be a drawback. At least I'm getting jolly tired of pushing other 
people's stuff. 

I'll send your letter on to Miss Marsden anyhow. 

I don't see why you shouldn't live half the year in London. After all it's 
the only sane place for any one to live if they've any pretence to letters. 

Two days' interruption 

Guess there wasn't much more than a signature to add. 

I can't answer all of your questions as 1 don't own the paper. All I can 
say is that I think you could make it go and that I'll back you if you try it. 

I think everything in your letter perfectly sound. 

41: To Amy Lowell 

London, 23 March 

Dear Miss Lowell: The Egoist has just had £250 chucked at its head to do 
as it likes with, so I'm afraid there's no chance of your getting it in July to 


1914— aetat 28 

do as you like with. Still I dare say you'll find some way of amusing your- 
self when you arrive. I'm not sure a quarterly wouldn't be cheaper and 
more effective, and you could edit that from Boston quite easily. 

Also a quarterly staff is at hand in Hueffer, Joyce, Lawrence, Flint, and 
myself on this side and you and your crowd on the other. I should also 
develop some more intimate connection with Vienna and Florence. We 
could have whoever we liked for special articles or stories, but I think 
Lawrence and Joyce are the two strongest prose writers among les jeunes, 
and all the rest are about played out. And we could have anything Yeats 
happened to do. And we should, I think, print a reasonable amount of 
French, or else reprint a ten to twenty page selection from some French 
poet in each number. This would be cheaper than trying new stuff and we 
could get the man's whole work before us instead of depending on the 
scraps he happened to submit. 

The French departments of the U.S. universities, or the Modern 
Language Association or the Alliance Franchise ought to back us up in 
such an endeavour to promote international understanding. The whole 
three of 'em ought to be tackled. 

42: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 28 March 

Dear Miss Monroe: — / — / No, the Fenollosa play can't wait. It won't 
do any harm to print it with the Yeats stuff in May. Every number ought 
to be at least as * sublimated' as such a number will be. If we can't stay that 
good we ought to quit. 

The Hueffer can't possibly wait past June. Both he and V(iolet) H(unt> 
have done nothing but fuss and plague me about the delay supposedly till 
June ever since I got the thing from them, and 'printing it in America is 
just like burying it' and he has turned down Monro of Poetry and Drama 
when said H.M. tried to buy the thing from him. That was out of friend- 
ship for me and because I had insisted on his waiting for English publica- 
tion until after we had printed the poem. 

It is excessively inconvenient not to get the play done in April. 

I have just come back from Blum's, he is giving us a batch of stuff for 
July. I dare say he will send back the cheque for it; he seldom or never 
accepts payment. And that will either help you out of deficits or give you 
another prize for Johns or someone who needs it. 

The Blunt stuff, glory of the name etc. ought to build up our position 
with the older French reviews and 'solidify' us in other quarters. Besides 



it is good of its kind. And Macmillan is soon to bring out a collected 
edition of him. 

If I could be sure of even three or four good stiff numbers I might make 
some sort of stand for a restart here, or even an English 'publication* of 
Poetry \ but the thing flopped so before that there has been no use ' talking 
it up/ Of course, circulating a magazine takes energy and a lot of time, 
and for a person in my position it is purely impossible unless the magazine 
really ' means' what I mean and keeps up the sort of pace I believe in. 

Of course, until you do put out something 'that will circulate in 
England,' no author of any standing will give, or expect to give, you any- 
thing but American serial rights on a poem. However. I've chewed over 
that sufficiently. 

About the dates I propose for printing, I dare say I seem arbitrary but 
I get stuff that no one else (save possibly Hueffer, and in many cases not 
even Hueffer) could possibly get you. I do this by use, or abuse as you 
like, of the privilege of personal friendship or acquaintance. If added to 
that there is to be constant worry about dates of publication etc. delays, 
etc. 1 simply can not go on with it, it is too wearing to a set of nerves that 
have received few favors from circumstance. These people can't be treated 
like novices sending uninvited contributions to Harper's. 

Hang it all, the only way to sell a specialized magazine like Poetry is to 
pack it full full of good stuff. You sent up the sales with the number con- 
taining Yeats and myself a year or more ago. It ought to have kept on 
going up at a steady rate. It would do twice as much good to everybody 
concerned. Even the rotten poetasters that I object to having in at all 
might get as much for one page as they now do for two or three and they'd 
get corresponding advance in prestige. How can the bloomin provincial 
poet be expected to keep a pace unless we set it? If you'd only have some 
faint trace of confidence in the American poet's ability to hit the trail. 

If ' the public' once got convinced that you meant business . . . that you 
weren't waiting for laggards . . . and trying to run an ambulance corps for 
the incapable . . . aihi ai ai ai ! ! ! bopp ! ! ! 

'Sublimated number' be hanged. I dare say I'm vague and etc. but what 
I've been wanting all along is some such standard as that Yeats-Fenollosa 
number would be. Print it and don't fall below it. Don't accept till things 
hit at least that level, don't promise, leave the files open till the very going 
to press on the chance that a really good thing may come in. Then if 
nothing does come in use up some of your dead wood. 

Precedent: that rotten Poetry and Drama y established itself solely by 
Flint's French number which everybody had to get; it was the first large 

article on contemporary stuff. 


1 9 14— ae tat 28 

P.S. Hang it all, I wrote something to you or to somebody months and 
months ago about that damn Glebe thing. 

Of course if you think any of the people I've sent in have the faintest 
notion that you think the stuff is your 'absolute property' you are wholly 
mistaken. A clever author like Newbolt or Masefield only gives his pub- 
lishers ' leave to print.' 

No, the Glebe does not get the stuff for nothing. They pay a royalty on 
sales the same as any other publisher would. I did not and do not regard 
'em as a periodical. The book is issued as a monthly series, but it is issued 
bound at the same time as what I suppose to be a separate book. I have 
mucked in the filthy matter for the sake of a few young writers who need 
money and that oblique means to it, reputation. If the unpunchable God 
had any respect for my finer feelings . . . 

Anyhow, I've begged the Hueffer and given my own stuff for lower 
payment than I should have otherwise received for it, and paid one man an 
advance for his poem. Why in hell do I bother? . . . 

September is impossible for Hueffer, he has already refused another fine 

For God's sake if you've got a lot of second-rate stuff on hand and 
accepted, for god's sake get some one to pay the authors and then return 
the stuff to them. It would be better to take the money out of Poetry s own 
fund and recoup on sales or go smash if necessary. Anything better than 
water down the quality with stuff that ' looks pale beside'. . . . 

43: To Harriet Monroe 

London, April 

Dear H.M.: The author of the enclosed, X X , his wife and 

infant are I believe starving or thereabouts. I have helped him and I sup- 
pose I should do so still, but I'm 'strapped.' He tried to start a magazine 
here on another man's promises and he has got into such a mess that I 
don't think anyone else here will do anything for him. 

The poor devil had been keeping his poems for his own magazine or I 
suppose I should have had them to go over before. 

Can you send him a cheque for the poem at once and print it when you 
have relieved the present congestion ? 

Or does some supporter want to take him on: he has something in him, 
enough at least to make him worth keeping on the planet a few months 



The last I had of him was to send him a telegraph order to buy food, 
then he disappeared, ashamed to ask for more, and I heard nothing until 
his wife found my address among his papers and wrote from Leicester (he 
had been in London). 

44: To Amy Lowell 

Coleman s Hatch, 30 April 

Dear Miss Lowell: By all means * Astigmatize' me, tres honor6. 

Joyce is the author of that Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man now in 
The Egoist, and he is also in the Imagiste book. 

We can consider what French stuff is worth using when you come over, 
and jaw about possibilities. 

Fletcher looking 'real hearty* to my amazement the last time I saw him. 

I am on my head with Fenollosa notes and the expectable disturbances 
of such a season. — / — / 

45: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 23 May 

Dear H.M.: — / — / Cut out any of my poems that would be likely to get 
you suppressed but don't make it into a flabby little Sunday School lot like 
the bunch in the November number. Now who could blush at 'Lesbia 
Ilia'????????? who??? 

Anyway I haven't any new things that will mix with the lot I've sent in. 

You can leave out the footnote to ' (A Study in) Aesthetics.' 

The Hueffer good? Rather! It is the most important poem in the 
modern manner. The most important single poem that is. 

As for my only liking importations, that's sheer nonsense. Fletcher, 
Frost, Williams, H.D., Cann611 and yrs. v.t. are all American. You know 
perfectly well that American painting is recognizable because painters 
from the very beginning have kept in touch with Europe and dared to 
study abroad. Are you going to call people foreigners the minute they care 
enough about their art to travel in order to perfect it? Are the only 
American poets to be diose who are too lazy to study or travel, or too 
cowardly to learn what perfection means ? — / — / 

Blunt hasn't sent in his stuff, and I won't stir him up, if you don't much 
want him. I don't care about giving people the sort of stuff that they want, 


1914- aetat 2 8 
or using stuff in the old manner. If he remembers on his own account he 
will have to go in in my place. 

Rodker ought to go in fairly soon, not later than Sept. 

As for importations. You know what a man's painting is like when he 
has never been out of, say Indiana, and has never seen a good gallery. 

And what is there improper in ' The Father* ? 

Am I expected to confine myself to a Belasco drawingroom ? Is modern 
life, or life of any period, confined to polite and decorous actions or to the 
bold deeds of stevedores or the discovery of the Nile and Orinoco by 
Teethidorus Dentatus Roosenstein? Are we to satirize only the politer and 
Biblical sins? Is art to have no bearing on life whatever? Is it to deal only 
with situations recognized and sanctioned by Cowper? Can one pre- 
suppose a public which has read at least some of the classics? God damn it 
until America has courage enough to read Voltaire it won't be fit for pigs 
let alone humans. — / — / 

46: To Amy Lowell 

London y (? 13) July 

Dear Miss Lowell: BLAS T dinner on the 1 5 th as I phoned this P.M. 

Upward in yesterday. Will be glad to come to your dinner. 

Richard will come to call on you Friday and help you make what pre- 
parations and invitations you want. (H.D. will come too, but don't men- 
tion it as she is in retreat from all social appearances, feigning indisposi- 
tion. This information is private.) If Friday P.M. don't suit you, will you 
write and name some other day? He is at no. 8 in this building. 

47: To Amy Lowell 

London, 1 August 

Dear Miss Lowell: It is true that I might give my sanction, or whatever 
one wants to call it, to having you and Richard and 'H.D.' bring out an 
'Imagiste' anthology, provided it were clearly stated at the front of the 
book that 'E.P. etc. dissociated himself, wished success, did not mind use 
of title so long as it was made clear that he was not responsible for con- 
tents or views of the contributors.' But, on the other hand that would 
deprive me of my machinery for gathering stray good poems and pre- 



senting them to the public in more or less permanent form and of dis- 
covering new talent — of which the already discovered will be constantly 
jealous and contemptuous (especially R.A.), will fuss etc. — or poems 
which could not be presented to the public in other ways, poems that 
would be lost in magazines. As for example ' H.D.V would have been, for 
some years at least. 

The present machinery was largely or wholly my making. I ordered 
c the public* (i.e. a few hundred people and a few reviewers) to take note of 
certain poems. 

You offer to find a publisher, that is, a better publisher, if I abrogate my 
privileges, if I give way to, or saddle myself with, a dam'd contentious, 
probably incompetent committee. If I tacitly, tacitly to say the least of it, 
accept a certain number of people as my critical and creative equals, and 
publish the acceptance. 

I don't see the use. Moreover, I should like the name 'Imagisme* to 
retain some sort of a meaning. It stands, or I should like it to stand for hard 
light, clear edges. I can not trust any democratized committee to maintain 
that standard. Some will be splay-footed and some sentimental. 

Neither will I waste time to argue with a committee. I have little enough 
time for my own work as it is. And all things converge to leave me all too 
little for the part I should like to give to actual creation, rather than to 
criticism, journalism etc. 

If anyone wants a faction, or if anyone wants to form a separate group, 
I think it can be done amicably, but I should think it wiser to split over an 
aesthetic principle. In which case the new group would find its name auto- 
matically, almost. The aesthetic issue would of itself give names to the two 

Your proposition was not that you would find a publisher and that you 
would prefer the stuff to be selected by a committee or by each contri- 
butor, but that such an anthology would be published and that I could 
come in or go hang. At least that was my impression which may have been 
inexact. We may both have rushed at unnecessary conclusions. 

48: To Amy Lowell 

London^ 12 August 

Dear Miss Lowell: I think your idea most excellent, only I think your 
annual anthology should be called Vers Libre or something of that sort. 
Obviously it will consist in great part of the work of people who have not 


1914— aetat 28 

taken the trouble to find out what I mean by 'Imagisme.* I should, as I 
have said, like to keep the term associated with a certain clarity and 

A number of your contributors object to being labelled. Vers libre 
seems to be their one common bond. Also if you use such a title (or any- 
thing similar) there need be no bothersome explanation of my absence. 

I think the annual will be very good for all concerned. I trust I shall not 
as you say 'take any one with me'; I have no desire to prevent anyone 
else's participation in the project. Also I will refrain from publishing 
another anthology in America before 19 16 if you think it likely to clash in 
any way with yours. This offer is a little inconvenient as I had written to 
that side of the water before you spoke to me of Macmillan. However I 
recognize that the Aldingtons prefer Macmillan and I don't want diem to 
incur any uncertainty about having their poems published together in 

If you want to drag in the word Imagisme you can use a subtitle 'an 
anthology devoted to Imagisme, vers libre and modern movements in 
verse' or something of that sort. I think that will be perfectly fair to 

49: To Douglas Goldring 

London, 18 September 

Dear Goldring: Those people in Chicago have at last printed two of your 
poems. I suppose you'll get paid in a day or so. 

I like your 'Loredan' now I see it in print. Though the interjected 
'Alice' rhyming with palace, and the last line of 'Hill House' still stick in 
my craw. 

If you think it worth while to subject some more things to my captious 
and atrabilious eye, I should be glad to see another lot of your stuff. I have 
no means of guaranteeing that Poetry will print anything under six 
month's time, but I will try to hurry them as much as possible. 

P.S. I should like to make up 5 or 6 pages of your stuff, but we have so 
many points of disagreement that I'll need a large lot to select from if I am 
to do so. 



50: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 30 September 

Dear H.M.: 1. Received with thanks, £ 18/10, receipt enclosed. 

2. Enclosed also the first fruits of sin with Masefield. I have answered 
to the effect that if they will delay publication until Nov. 1st I will do what 
I can for them but the bloody Philip the King is a play not a poem and it is 
54 pages long. I send you copy herewith under separate cover. You can 

arrange as you like with Reynolds. If they delay, and if it is 

impossible to print the whole play, which has no division into acts, there is 
one alternative, i.e. that of printing the Messenger's speech and part of an 
endless dialogue between Philip and the Infanta. It would be perhaps 
simpler to wait until J.M. has something else for us. 

So far as the public is concerned it would be better to print the whole 
play or nothing. If Heinemann does not delay publication, Reynolds 
would probably sell you the play for a few pounds, butt. . . . You could 
print the play, and have nothing else in the number, either prose or 

3. 1 was jolly well right about Eliot. He has sent in the best poem I have 
yet had or seen from an American. Pray god it be not a single and 
unique success. He has taken it back to get it ready for the press and you 
shall have it in a few days. 

He is the only American I know of who has made what I can call ade- 
quate preparation for writing. He has actually trained himself and modern- 
ized himself on his own. The rest of the promising young have done one or 
the other but never both (most of the swine have done neither). It is such a 
comfort to meet a man and not have to tell him to wash his face, wipe his 
feet, and remember the date (19 14) on the calendar. 

51: To Amy Lowell 1 


Why not include Thomas Hardy? 

London, 2 October 

1 See Letter No. 56. 

1914 — aetat 28 

52: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 3 October 

Dear Mr. Mencken: So far I only find novels. All more than 30,000 words. 

I enclose a poem by the last intelligent man I've found — a young 
American, T. S. Eliot (you can write to him direct, Merton College, 
Oxford). I think him worth watching — mind ' not primitive/ 

His ' (Portrait of a) Lady ' is very nicely drawn. 

53: To Harriet Monroe 

London, October 

Dear H.M.: Here is the Eliot poem. 1 The most interesting contribution 
Fve had from an American. 
P.S. Hope you'll get it in soon. 

54: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 12 October 

Dear Miss Weaver: Here is some copy for which I take no responsibility. 
Rodker has some reason or other for wanting his essay printed as soon as 
possible. He always has. Miss Heyman's article might precede Rodker's. 
Please do not put it next to mine. 

I shall have a rather longish article, that is about a page to a page and a 
half, announcing the College of Arts. 2 I may be a bit late with it, but I 

1 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' not printed until June 191 5. 

2 This article became the basis of the following prospectus: 

'It has been noted by certain authors that London is the capital of the world, 
and "Art is a matter of capitals". At present many American students who would 
have sought Vienna or Prague or some continental city are disturbed by war. To 
these The College of Arts offers a temporary refuge and a permanent centre. 

'We draw the attention of new students to the fact that no course of study is 
complete without one or more years in London. Scholarly research is often but 
wasted time if it has not been first arranged and oriented in the British Museum. 

'The London collections are if not unrivalled at least unsurpassed. The 
Louvre has the Venus and the Victory but the general collection of sculpture in 
the Museum here is, as a whole, the finer collection. The National Gallery is 
smaller than the Louvre but it contains no rubbish. 
F 8l 


particularly want it in. Said affair may be of a good deal of use to The 
Egoist: it can't be of immediate use. 

For the rest I think The Egoist can very well 'suspend publication 
during duration of war.' That is better than shutting up shop altogether. 

'Without chauvinism we can very easily claim that study in London is at least 
as advantageous as study elsewhere, and that a year's study in London by no 
means prevents earlier or later study in other capitals. 

'The American student coming abroad is usually presented with two systems 
of study, firstly, that of "institutions" for the most part academic, sterile, pro- 
fessorial; secondly, instruction by private teachers often most excellent, often the 

'The College of Arts offers contact with artists of established position, 
creative minds, men for the most part who have already suffered in the cause of 
their art. 

'Recognizing the interaction of the arts, the inter-stimulus, and inter- 
enlightenment, we have gathered the arts together, we recommend that each 
student shall undertake some second or auxiliary subject, though this is in all 
cases left to his own inclination. We recognize that certain genius runs deep and 
often in one groove only, and that some minds move in the language of one 
medium only. But this does not hold true for the general student. For him and 
for many of the masters one art is the constant illuminator of another, a constant 

'The college prepares two sorts of instruction; one for those who intend a 
career in some single art, who desire practical and technical instruction, a second 
for those who believe that learning is an adornment, a gracious and useless 
pleasure, that is to say for serious art students and for the better sort of dilettanti. 

'The cost of instruction will vary from £20 to £100, depending on how much 
the student wishes to do himself and how much he wishes to have done for him. 
We recognize that the great majority of students now coming to Europe are 
musical students, the next most numerous class are painters and sculptors; we 
nevertheless, believe that there are various other studies which would be pursued 
if students knew where to go for instruction. 

'We try not to duplicate courses given in formal institutions like the Univer- 
sity of London, or purely utilitarian courses like those of Berlitz. London is itself 
a larger university, and the best specialists are perhaps only approachable in 
chance conversation. We aim at an intellectual status no lower than that attained 
by the courts of the Italian Renaissance. 

' Our organization is not unlike that of a University graduate school, and is 
intended to supplement the graduate instruction in "arts". This instruction is 
offered to anyone who wants it, not merely to those holding philological 

'A knowledge of morphology is not essential to the appreciation of literature, 
even the literature of a forgotten age or decade. 

'M. Arnold Dolmetsch's position in the world of music is unique, and all 
music lovers are so well aware of it, that one need not here pause to proclaim it. 
Painting and sculpture are taught by the most advanced and brilliant men of our 
decade, but if any student desires instruction in the earlier forms of the art, 


1914— aetat 28 

From a practical point of view it is hopeless to try to increase the sales of 
The Egoist during war time. The staff might be put on half pay if any one 
wants to do it, but ... the finishing up of things has not come suddenly. 
Everyone has known that December would see at least 'a suspension' 
unless the unexpected occurred. If we 'suspend during duration of war* 
there will be reasonable colour to any efforts one might make, after war- 
time, to recommence. Also, one could begin quite awhile after without 
damage. Pardon, if I am running out of my own province and giving 
needless advice. 

instruction in representative painting awaits him. The faculty as arranged to 
date, though it is still but a partial faculty, is perhaps our best prospectus.' 

Among the members of the faculty were the following: Henri Gaudier- 
Brzeska, Wyndham Lewis, Edward Wadsworth, Edmund Dulac, Reginald 
Wilenski, Arnold Dolmetsch, Felix Salmond, K. R. Heyman, Ezra Pound, John 
Cournos, Alvin Langdon Coburn. 

The prospectus continues: 

'As a supplement to the various courses in arts and crafts, we point out the 
value of individual research in, and study of, the various collections of the South 
Kensington and British Museums. We will endeavour to save the student's time 
by giving general direction for such work, and initiation in method, apart from 
the usual assistance offered by the regular Museum officials. 

'In certain rare cases, the American college student, desiring more than his 
degree, will find it possible to spend his Junior or Sophomore year in London 
and return to his own University for graduation. Those desiring to do this 
should of course submit to us their plans of study, together with a clear statement 
of their requirements for graduation at the home college. Such students will have 
to possess rather more than average intelligence. 

'If intending to take graduate work for higher degrees, they may, however, 
find that this form of recess will give them a distinct advantage over their 
colleagues, such as fully to compensate for the inconvenience and derangement 
of undergraduate studies. It is always open to them to fill in routine courses by 
application to the University of London (that is to say, ordinary mathematics or 
classics), pursuing said courses in conjunction with their special work with the 
College of Arts. 

' (End of Prospectus,) 

'Remarks. — The college should come as a boon to various and numerous 
students who would otherwise be fugging about in continental pensions, meeting 
one single teacher who probably wishes them in the inferno, and dependent for 
the rest on fellow boarders and public amusements. 

'Secondly, it would seem designed to form itself into a centre of intelligent and 
intellectual activity, rather than a cramming factory where certain data are pushed 
into the student regardless of his abilities or predilections.* . . . 


55: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 12 October 


Dear H.M.: Please observe above instructions as soon as possible. Poetry 
is really becoming more or less what one would like to have it. 

I will send in a letter in a day or so, not an article, replying to your 
heresies. Why you deny the name of science or art to everything the public 
don't know, is beyond me. 

As to Amy's advertisement. It is, of course, comic. On the other hand, 

it is outrageous. It is what one would expect of a lying grocer like n, 

I don't suppose she is much to blame. Still, for us to print it in Poetry is 
wrong, even if it does pay a few dollars. 

1 have always objected to the Berg Essenwein 2 ad. but diis is a point 
beyond it. If it dealt with biscuits or a brand of sardines n and pos- 
sibly the magazines publishing the adv. would be liable to prosecution. 

56: To Amy Lowell 

[Pasted to the top of the first page is an advertisement of Amy Lowell 9 s 
Sword Blades and Poppy Seed, reading: ' Of the poets who to-day are 
doing the interesting and original work, there is no more striking and 
unique figure than Amy Lowell. The foremost member of the 'Imagists' 
— a group of poets that includes William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, Ford 
Madox Hueffer — she has won wide recognition for her writing in new and 
free forms of poetical expression.'] 

London, 19 October 

Dear Miss Lowell: In view of the above arrant charlatanism on the part of 
your publishers, I think you must now admit that I was quite right in 
refusing to join you in any scheme for turning Les Imagistes into an 
uncritical democracy with you as intermediary between it and the printers. 

1 Webster Ford was E. L. Masters' penname. 

2 Co-author of The Art of Versification, offered in the back pages of Poetry. 


1 9 14 — aetat 2 9 

While you apologize to Richard, your publishers, with true non- 
chalance, go on printing the ad in American papers which we would not 
see, save by unexpected accident. 

I think you had better cease referring to yourself as an Imagiste, more 
especially as The Dome of Glass certainly has no aspirations in our 

I suppose you will really stop this ad sometime or other. Now that you 
have presented yourself to the ignorant in so favorable a light, it won't so 
much matter. W.B.Y. was perhaps more amused than delighted. 

I don't suppose any one will sue you for libel; it is too expensive. If your 
publishers 'of good standing' tried to advertise cement or soap in this 
manner they would certainly be sued. However we salute their venality. 
Blessed are they who have enterprise, for theirs is the magazine public. 

P.S. I notice that the canny n in his ad refrains from giving a leg 

up to any of the less well known members of the school who might have 
received a slight benefit from it. 

57: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 9 November 

Dear H.M.: Your letter — die long one — to hand is the most dreary and 
discouraging document that I have been called upon to read for a very 
long time. 

Your objection to Eliot is the climax. No — you are not at liberty to say 
that she is Mrs. F. M. Hueffer. You are especially requested to make no 
allusion to the connection. 

I think that is all that needs an immediate answer. — / — / 

58: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 9 November 

Dear H.M.: No, most emphatically I will not ask Eliot to write down to 
any audience whatsoever. I dare say my instinct was sound enough when I 
volunteered to quit the magazine quietly about a year ago. Neither will I 
send you Eliot's address in order that he may be insulted. 

Now about news, I don't quite know what you can use. The stuff I had 
in mind was material for write-ups of Lewis, Epstein, Brzeska and any 



other good stuff that might turn up. You said you couldn't criticize stuff 
you hadn't seen. However I'll get you some photos if you think you can 
make anything of it. 

The general theory of the new art is, I think, made fairly clear in my 
article * Vorticism' appearing in the September no. Fortnightly Review. 

I don't think I can get photos from Epstein unless you really want to 
use them. 

Now about topics of the moment. There is an exhibit of Rodin at the 
South Kensington museum, good of its kind but it does look like muck 
after one has got one's eye in on Epstein's Babylonian austerity. And 
Brzeska's work, for all that he is only 22, is much more interesting. 

Would it be any use to you to have photos of the better Rodin's? A 
couple are fine and some of 'em make me sick. Slime. No form. 

Brzeska by the way is at the front, French army. 7 out of his squad of 12 
were killed off a few weeks ago, when scouting. He has killed two ' boches.' 
The dullness in the trenches for the last weeks has bored him so that he is 
doing an essay on sculpture for the next number of BLAST. Also he has 
done a figure, working with his jackknife and an entrenching tool. 

The exhibition of Modern Spanish Art at the Grafton is a fit exhibit to 
hang where the show of the Royal Society of portrait painters hung 
recently. MUCK. If it weren't in 'aid of the Prince of Wales fund' one 
would be inclined to sue for one's shilling. On what pretence is it modern ! 
Most of the stuff that has any tendency at all is an archaism of one sort or 
another. The preface to the catalog which I now look at for the first time is 
as silly as the show, all anchored about 1875 anc ^ amateurish. 

Picasso is not mentioned. Even Picabia is a large light in comparison 
with their twaddle. 

The one thing that stands out is the work of Nestor Martin Fernandez 
della Torre. (This is not a fad.) Fernandez has four things, two pictures 
and two black and white things. The two pictures are very different super- 
ficially. Coburn and I did the show together and these things scattered 
about were the only things of interest. 

He paints hard and clear. As canvases of the masters of Leonardo's time 
might have looked when new. It is as if he had learned from Van Gogh 
and, in the portrait of the young man 'Joselito,' been younger and more 
gentle. In die woman's portrait 'La maja del abanico' it is as if he had tried 
to combine the Van Gogh hardness with the splendour, the ornateness, of 
Seville or of the Renaissance period. 

The two drawings of dances are good, but not sufficiently so to make 
one remember him apart from the show, had they not been seen with the 


1 9 14 — aetat 29 

Wadsworth, a young painter, not nearly so important as Lewis, but 
good, might interest you, as he has a bee for industrial centres and har- 
bours. He is doing woodcuts at the moment. I suppose I could get you a 
couple, or at least get you impressions of some sort that would give you an 
idea, if it's any use. 

I've mentioned Wadsworth, Epstein, Brzeska and Lewis in hurried 
scribbles in The Egoist. Do you see it? I think it is sent in as an exchange, 
but am not sure. 

May Sinclair's last book, The Three Sisters, is the best she has done. She 
is just back from Belgium, went out with Red Cross, supposedly as a 
secretary or something, but has been pulling wounded off the field, and 
making Belgian interpreters run autos into more dangerous places than 
they like, etc. She has kept her name out of the papers so far, although 
everybody else has been appearing in large photos. 

Wadsworth, along with Augustus John and nearly everybody, is drill- 
ing in the courtyard of the Royal Academy, in a regiment for home 

I was in a huge studio building, I should say the largest, in Chelsea, and 
every man, save one 'sculptor' who makes monuments, had volunteered. 

Wyndham Lewis, whose decorations of the Countess of Drogheda's 
house caused such a stir last autumn (and they weren't very good either) is 
now decorating the study of that copious novelist and critic, Mr. Ford 
Madox Hueffer. And, as I intimated in my note this morning, no, for 
gawd's sake don't connect Violet Hueffer with F.M.H. There have been 
enough suits for libel etc. I can't go into the inner history at this moment, 
but refrain from bracketing the two names. 

I wonder if any of this is of the slightest use to you. Remember I don't 
know the least thing about what newspapers use. I once did two book 
reviews but that is the extent of my services to the daily press so you'll 
have to guide me more or less. 

Getting pictures would be fairly simple, in the case of Rodin or 
Fernandez. I suppose I'd have to buy the prints ? ? 

Conrad was reported lost either in Poland, or going thither at the out- 
break of the war. I don't happen to have heard recent news of him. 
Cunninghame Graham volunteered, after having lived a pacific socialist. 
He is to be sent off to buy remounts, as he is over-age and knows more 
about horses than anyone else except Blunt. 

Blunt has brought out a two volume collected edition. Also they say he 
has barred his front door and put up a sign 'BELLIGERENTS WILL 
PLEASE GO ROUND TO THE KITCHEN.' 1 dare say he is watching 
Egypt at the present. 



Ricketts has made the one mot of the war, the last flare of the 90's: 
'What depresses me most is the horrible fact that they can't all of them be 
beaten.' It looks only clever and superficial, but one can not tell how true 
it is. This war is possibly a conflict between two forces almost equally 
detestable. Atavism and the loathsome spirit of mediocrity cloaked in 
graft. One does not know; the thing is too involved. I wonder if England 
will spend the next ten years in internal squabble after Germany is beaten. 
It's all very well to see the troops flocking from the four corners of 
Empire. It is a very fine sight. But, but, but, civilization, after the battle is 
over and everybody begins to call each other thieves and liars inside the 
Empire. They took ten years after the Boer War to come to. One wonders 
if the war is only a stop gap. Only a symptom of the real disease. 

However this isn't news. I'll write you about the proposed College of 
Arts in a day or so. I am too tired this evening, and the new prospecti 
haven't come in. 

I don't think you can use either that mot of Ricketts nor Blunt's jape. 
These things get public and make trouble. 

Blunt's collected edition and that rotten book of Masefield's are the 
book news. If that sort of thing is any use to you, or if America don't get 
it as soon as we do, I'll keep an eye on publishers' announcements for you. 
You didn't say what sort of news you could do with. 

Fletcher is fleeing to the U.S.A. on Oct. 14th. I trust the Poetry Society 
will turn out to meet him. Rodker wants to know if he could get work 

Tuesday ', 10 November 

The proof of the College of Arts prospectus has just come and I enclose 
it. I was going to ask A.C.H. to give it publicity but I guess you can use it 
as news quite as well. It is, obviously, a scheme to enable things to keep on 
here in spite of the war-strain and (what will be more dangerous) the war 
back- wash and post bellum slump. But it embodies two real ideas: 

A. That the arts, including poetry and literature, should be taught by 
artists, by practicing artists, not by sterile professors. 

B. That the arts should be gathered together for the purpose of inter- 
enlightenment. The 'art' school, meaning 'paint school,' needs literature 
for backbone, ditto the musical academy, etc. 

I was going to ask A.C.H. to boom it, because I think it can be made a 
valuable model, or starting point for a much bigger scheme for Chicago. 
This thing here is done by artists in spite of the rich, but Chicago should be 
able to do a really big thing, if, as they seem able to do, they can get 


19 14 — aetat 2,9 

money and the creative people working together . My third ' Renaissance' 
article will outline something. With three year fellowships, life-endow* 
ment, etc. 

You see also, that while the vorticists are well-represented, the College 
does not bind itself to a school. Vide Dolmetsch, Robins and in less degree 
Dulac and Coburn. 

Also the College should be of very real service to American students, I 
have seen enough of them to know. 

By the way, Dolmetsch's forthcoming book ought to be good for a 



59: To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman s Hatch, January 

Dear H.M.: There are two ways of existing in la vie litteVaire. As De 
Gourmont said some while since: 'A man is valued by the abundance or 
the scarcity of his copy.' The problem is how, how in hell to exist without 
over-production. In the Imagist book I made it possible for a few poets 
who were not over-producing to reach an audience. That delicate opera- 
tion was managed by the most rigorous suppression of what I considered 

Obviously such a method and movement are incompatible with effu- 
sion, with flooding magazines with all sorts of wish-wash and imitation 
and the near-good. If I had acceded to A.L.'s proposal to turn 'Imagism' 
into a democratic beer-garden, I should have undone what little good I 
had managed to do by setting up a critical standard. 

My dissociation with the forthcoming Some Imagist Poets book, and my 
displeasure, arises again from the same cause, which A.C.H. aptly calls 
' the futility of trying to impose a selective taste on the naturally unselec- 

A.L. comes over here, gets kudos out of association. She returns and 
wants to weaken the whole use of the term imagist, by making it mean any 
writing of vers libre. Why, if they want to be vers-librists, why can't they 
say so? But no, she wants in Lawrence, Fletcher, her own looser work. 
And the very discrimination, the whole core of significance I've taken 
twelve years of discipline to get at, she expects me to accord to people who 
have taken fifteen minutes' survey of my results. 

My problem is to keep alive a certain group of advancing poets, to set 
the arts in their rightful place as the acknowledged guide and lamp of 
civilization. The arts must be supported in preference to the church and 
scholarship. Artists first, then, if necessary, professors and parsons. 
Scholarship is but a hand-maid to the arts. My propaganda for what some 
may consider 'novelty in excess' is a necessity. There are plenty to defend 

1 the familiar kind of thing. 


191 5 — aetat 29 
60: To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman s Hatch, January 

Dear H.M.: Poetry must be as well written as prose. Its lan- 
guage must be a fine language, departing in no way from speech save by a 
heightened intensity (i.e. simplicity). There must be no book words, no 
periphrases, no inversions. It must be as simple as De Maupassant's best 
prose, and as hard as Stendhal's. 

There must be no interjections. No words flying off to nothing. Granted 
one can't get perfection every shot, this must be one's intention. 

Rhythm must have meaning. It can't be merely a careless dash off, with 
no grip and no real hold to the words and sense, a tumty turn tumty turn 
turn ta. 

There must be no cliches, set phrases, stereotyped journalese. The only 
escape from such is by precision, a result of concentrated attention to what 
one is writing. The test of a writer is his ability for such concentration and 
for his power to stay concentrated till he gets to the end of his poem, 
whether it is two lines or two hundred. 

Objectivity and again objectivity, and expression: no hindside-before- 
ness, no straddled adjectives (as 'addled mosses dank'), no Tennysonian- 
ness of speech; nothing — nothing that you couldn't, in some circumstance, 
in the stress of some emotion, actually say. Every literaryism, every book 
word, fritters away a scrap of the reader's patience, a scrap of his sense of 
your sincerity. When one really feels and thinks, one stammers with simple 
speech; it is only in the flurry, the shallow frothy excitement of writing, or 
the inebriety of a metre, that one falls into the easy — oh, how easy ! — 
speech of books and poems that one has read. 1 

Language is made out of concrete things. General expressions in non- 
concrete terms are a laziness; they are talk, not art, not creation. They are 
the reaction of things on the writer, not a creative act by the writer. 

'Epithets' are usually abstractions — I mean what they call 'epithets' in 
the books about poetry. The only adjective that is worth using is the 
adjective that is essential to the sense of the passage, not the decorative 
frill adjective. 

1 1937. It should be realized that Ford Madox Ford had been hammering this 
point of view into me from the time I first met him (1908 or 1909) and that I owe 
him anything that I don't owe myself for having saved me from the academic 
influences then raging in London. — E.P.January 1937. Footnote from Harriet 
Monroe's A Poet's Life. 



Aldington has his occasional concentrations, and for that reason it is 
always possible that he will do a fine thing. There is a superficial cleverness 
in him, then a great and lamentable gap, then the hard point, the true 
centre, out of which a fine thing may come at any time. 

Fletcher is sputter, bright flash, sputter. Impressionist temperament, 
made intense at half-seconds. 

H. D. and William C. Williams both better emotional equipment than 
Aldington, but lacking the superficial cleverness. Ought to produce really 
fine things at great intervals. 

Eliot is intelligent, very, but I don't know him well enough to make 

Masters hits rock bottom now and again. He should comb the jour- 
nalese out of his poems. I wish Lindsay all possible luck but we're not 
really pulling the same way, though we both pull against entrenched 

Sandburg may come out all right, but he needs to learn a lot about How 
to Write. I believe his intention is right. 

Would to God I could see a bit more Sophoclean seventy in the ambi- 
tions of mes amis et confreres. The general weakness of the writers of the 
new school is looseness, lack of rhythmical construction and intensity; 
secondly, an attempt to 'apply decoration,' to use what ought to be a 
vortex as a sort of bill-poster, or fence- wash. Hinc illae lachrymae. Too 
bad abotlt Amy — why can't she conceive of herself as a Renaissance figure 
instead of a spiritual chief, which she ain't. 

Ebbene — enough of this. 

61: To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman s Hatch, 3 1 January 

Dear H.M.: Poe is a good enough poet, and after Whitman the best 
America has produced (probably?). He is a damn bad model and is 
certainly not to be set up as a model to any one who writes in 


Now as to Eliot: 'Mr. Prufrock* does not 'go off at the end.' It is a 
portrait of failure, or of a character which fails, and it would be false art to 
make it end on a note of triumph. I dislike the paragraph about Hamlet, 
but it is an early and cherished bit and T.E. won't give it up, and as it is the 
only portion of the poem that most readers will like at first reading, I don't 
see that it will do much harm. 


1915 — aetat 29 

For the rest: a portrait satire on futility can't end by turning that quint- 
essence of futility, Mr. P. into a reformed character breathing out fire and 

Fletcher is no great judge of anything. He has a lawless and uncon- 
trolled ability to catch certain effects, mostly of colour, but no finishing 

I will let the unfortunate Ficke pass widiout complaint if you get on 
with ' Mr. Prufrock,' in a nice quiet and orderly manner. I assure you it is 
better, 'more unique/ than the other poems of Eliot which I have seen. 
Also that he is quite intelligent (an adjective which is seldom in my mouth). 

Yeats has sent five poems to his agent with note that they should be sub- 
mitted to you; there are three here (in his desk) which will be sent either 
direct or through the agent. 

I know Poe wrote other poems besides 'Et le corbeau dit jamais plus.' 
I have bought them pomes, also Chivers's pomes. I note: 'yore,' 'own 
native,' 'Wont to roam,' 'Naiad airs,' 'yon,' even in the cameo; and they 
are bad for the budding. Also inversion and periphrasis: 'bore' out at end 
of line for rhyme; and slight over-alliteration. These things one doesn't 
bother over so far as the gen. public is concerned and one accepts the inner 
force of a poem, but it would be treacherous and dishonest to let them 
pass in a thing set up as a model. They are tilings that one may do by 
accident or through inability but they are not things that one should 

62: To H. L. Mencken 

Coleman s Hatch, 18 February 

Dear Mr. Mencken: As I wrote I am 'cleaned out' of verse by a book and 
two big batches of poems in Poetry and BLAST. 

I send all that I have. I did it this morning. 1 1 think it has some guts, but 
am perhaps still blinded by the fury in which I wrote it, and still confuse 
the cause with the result. 

Have sent word to various people that you want good stuff. Aldington 
for light verse, W. L. George, Hueffer, May Sinclair, etc. Will see D. H. 
Lawrence. Frost is in America, dull perhaps, but has something in him. 
I have told him to see you or write. I should be glad if you could use his 
stuff. He is much better than Wright's protegd Kemp anyhow. He has 

1 An unpublished poem ' 191 5 : February'. 


The prose writer I am really interested in is James Joyce. He is in 

Austria; therefore I can't write to him but you might. His 

Dubliners, a book of short stories, has succeeded since I first wrote of him. 
The Egoist is using a long novel 1 of his as a serial. It's damn well written. 

E. L. Masters (has written as 'Webster Ford') has some 

punch but writes a little too much, and without sufficient hardness of edge. 
He is worth watching and printing. He and Eliot seem to me for the 
moment the most hopeful American poets — closer the thing. 

63: To John Quinn 

[In The New Age of 21 January ', Pound had published an article on Jacob 
Epstein in which he had written that the sculptor had 1 pawned his "Sun God" 
and two other pieces* for sixty pounds. And he continued: * One looks out upon 
American collectors buying autograph mss. of William Morris, faked Rem- 
brandts and faked Van Dykes. 9 On 25 January, John Quinn wrote to Pound 
protesting against that sentence as a reflection upon himself Quinn went on to 
point out that he had given up collecting manuscripts; that he collected modern 
art and not faked Rembrandts and Van Dykes and, indeed, had canvases by 
Matisse, Picasso and Derain; that he was responsible for the new tariff law 
which broke up the market in faked old masters. He inquired about the possi- 
bility of getting some good work by Gaudier-Br^eska and, finally, suggested 
that Pound might write for The New Republic] 

London, 8 March 

My dear John Quinn: Thanks, apologies and congratulations. Tf there 
were more like you we should get on with our renaissance. 

I particularly congratulate you on having shed your collection of mss. 
and having ' got as far as Derain.' (Mind you, I think Lewis has much more 
power in his elbow, but I wouldn't advise a man to buy 'a Lewis' simply 
because it was Lewis. Out of much that I do not care for, there are now 
and again designs or pictures which I greatly admire.) However, there are 
few such reformed characters as yourself, and I might have as well said, 
'medals given to John Keats for orthography, first editions of eighteenth 
century authors,' instead of ' mss. of Wm. Morris,' which allusion would 
not have dragged you into it and would have left the drive of my sentence 

1 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. 

1915 — aetat 29 

about the same, I might have gone on about the way Morgan and a certain 
old friend of his, whose niece I knew in Paris, used to buy, but Morgan is 
such a stock phrase (and besides he has done some good in America by 
bringing in Old Masters). Then there's Ricketts now showing Old 
Masters, collected for Davis I think it is. There are a lot of heads at the 

I have still a very clear recollection of Yeats pfere on an elephant (at 
Coney Island), smiling like Elijah in the beatific vision, and of you plug- 
ging away in the shooting gallery. And a very good day it was. 

As to fake Rembrandts, etc., I carried twenty * Rembrandts,' 'Van 
Dykes' and 'Velasquez' out of Wanamaker's private gallery at the time of 
his fire some eight years ago. I know that they aren't the only examples in 
the U.S., so my sentence was by no means a personal one. My God ! What 
Velasquez! I also know a process for Rembrandts: one man studies the 
ghetto and does drawings, one the Rembrandtesque method of light and 
shade and manner and does the painting, and a third does the 'tone of 
time.' However, that's a digression. Let me go at your letter as it comes. 

I haven't seen much of Epstein of late. He and Lewis have some feud or 
other which I haven't inquired into, and as Lewis is my more intimate 
friend I have not seen much of Jacob, though I was by way of playing for 
a reconciliation. Jacob told me some time ago that the 'Sun God' was in 
hock. He told me, just before the war, it was still in hock. I heard from 
W.B.Y., after I had written the article and after it was in print, that you 
had bought ' an Epstein ' (' an Epstein,' not half a dozen.) 

By the way, if you are still getting Jacob's 'Birds,' for God's sake get 
the two that are stuck together, not the pair in which one is standing up on 
its legs. 

However, let me apologize for my ignorance and make an end of it. 

I congratulate you on the tariff law. Have they, I wonder, done as well 
by the writers as by the painters? I wrote to the President (for all the jolly 
sort of good that sort of thing does). I have to pay a duty if I am in Ameri- 
ca and want a copy of one of my own books, printed in England. You 
can't get a book printed in America unless it conforms to the commercial 
requirements. Rennert 1 had to pay some huge duty on his Life of Lope de 
Vega, which is a standard and which got him into the Spanish Academy. 
Only an English firm would risk the publication. The American law as it 
stands or stood is all for the publisher and the printer and all against the 
author, and more and more against him just in such proportion as he is 

1 Hugo Rennert, once professor in Romance languages at the University of 



before or against his time. If you are near the councils of the powers I 
would be glad to make out a fuller statement. This detail is one of the 
causes of American authors' coming abroad and of the funereal nature of 
all serious American periodicals. The printing is supposed to be so costly 
that it is impossible to publish in America, especially in periodicals which 
are, as are a few in London and Paris, largely in the control of writers or in 
which they have influence. 

Henry IV took off the octroi from books coming into Paris some cen- 
turies since, because they made for the increase of learning, and it is high 
time America followed suit. The absurd tariff (25% it was) and the egre- 
gious price the American booksellers stick on a foreign book, unneces- 
sarily, 'because of the tariff,' are just enough to prevent sales. Example, I 
caught a publisher selling my Spirit of Romance at 2 1/2 dollars. No fool 
would pay that for a six shilling book. Besides, that damn swindler had 
bought the book at 3 shillings by special arrangement so as to be able to 
sell it at the English price (I being paid as at 3/). These are merely personal 
instances, but it is the sort of thing that goes on and keeps books by living 
authors out of the U.S., and the tariff, which is iniquitous and stupid in 
principle, is made an excuse. All books ought to be on the free list, but 
more especially all books of living authors, and of those the non-com- 
mercial books, scholarship and belles lettres, most certainly. 

About Gaudier-Brzeska: I naturally think I've got the two best things 
myself, though I was supposed by his sister to have bought the first one out 
of charity because no one else would have it. The second one is half paid 
for by money I lent him to get to France with. He is now in the trenches 
before Rheims. However, there is, or was, a charming bas-relief of a cat 
chewing its hind foot, and there are the ' Stags,' if you like them. However, 
money can't be of much use to him now in the trenches. I send him a 
spare pound when I have it to finish up my payment on the 'Boy with a 
Coney.' But when he comes back from the trenches, if he does come, I 
imagine he will be jolly hard up. In the meantime I will find out exactly 
what is unsold and let you know about it. Coburn is doing a photo of one 
of my own things of Brzeska's and I hope it will interest him enough to go 
on and do a portfolio, in which case you will be able to make your selec- 
tion from the best possible photographs. 

At any rate, I will write to Gaudier at once and see what he has, and 
where it is, and how much he wants for it, and if there is anything that I 
think fit to recommend I think Coburn will probably photograph it for 
me. Then there will be no waste in dealer's commissions. 

Which brings me back to another hobby. Speaking of 30,000 dollars for 
two pictures, I 'consider it immoral' to pay more than 1,000 dollars for 


1915— aetat 29 

any picture (save, perhaps, a huge Sistine ceiling or something of that 
sort). Your Puvises are big pictures so it don't hit you. But no artist needs 
more than 2,000 dollars per year, and any artist can do two pictures at 
least in a year. 30,000 dollars would feed a whole little art world for five 

My whole drive is that if a patron buys from an artist who needs money 
(needs money to buy tools, time and food), the patron then makes himself 
equal to the artist: he is building art into the world; he creates. 

If he buys even of living artists who are already famous or already mak- 
ing £12,000 per year, he ceases to create. He sinks back to the rank of a 

A great age of painting, a renaissance in the arts, comes when there are a 
few patrons who back their .own flair and who buy from unrecognized 
men. In every artist's life there is, if he be poor, and they mostly are, a 
period when £10 is a fortune and when £100 means a year's leisure to 
work or to travel, or when the knowledge diat they can make £100 or 
£200 a year without worry (without spending two-thirds of their time 
running to dealers, or editors) means a peace of mind that will let them 
work and not undermine them physically. 

Besides, if a man has any sense, the sport and even the commercial 
advantage is so infinitely greater. If you can hammer this into a few more 
collectors you will bring on another Cinquecento. 

(In sculpture I might let the price run over £200, simply because of the 
time it takes to cut stone. Drill work is no damn good. Both Gaudier and 
Epstein cut direct, and there may be months of sheer cutting in a big bit of 
sculpture, especially if the stone is very hard.) Gaudier does mostly small 
things, which is sane, for the sculpture of our time, save public sculpture, 
ought to be such as will go in a modern house. 

About The New Republic, I am afraid it is not much use. 1 saw 

and lunched with Lippmann when he was over here, but he didn't seem 
disposed to take any of my stuff. A poet, you know! ! ! Bad lot, they are. 
No sense of what the public wants. Even Cournos, who isn't exactly 
modern, met Lippmann and said: 'You've heard of English stodge? Well, 
there's one stodge that's worse. That's American stodge.' 

Even The New Age has nipped my series in the middle because I have 
dared to write an article praising an American writer of vers libre, one 
Edgar Masters. They say it's an insult to their readers to praise vers libre 
after they have so often condemned it. (God knows most vers libre is bad 
enough. Still, Masters has something in him, rough and unfinished, ma !) 
If you told Croly of The New Republic that I was an art critic he might 
believe you, but he'd think me very bad for his paper. The fat pastures are 
G 97 


still afar from me. And I have a persistent and (editorially) inconvenient 
belief that America has the chance for a great age if she can be kicked into 
taking it. (Whereanent some remarks in The Dial, here enclosed). 

64: To Harriet Monroe 

London, {? March) 

Dear H.M.: You are in the same state as the late medieval 

critics who insisted that Paul wrote good Greek because he was an in- 
spired Christian. We now know he neither wrote good Greek nor repre- 
sented the teaching of the original Christian. No matter. 

You say you understand and then you just don't. Whatever talent Poe 
may have had, or anybody may have had, the only stuff to use as a model 
is stuff that is without flaws, or stuff in which we see the flaws so clearly 
that we may avoid them. 

Laws do not begin with the man who puts them in print; whatever 
Maws of imagisme' are good, have been good for some time. 

One condemns a fault in Poe, not because it is in Poe. It is all right for 
Poe if you like, but it is damn bad for the person who is trying uncritically 
to write like Poe. (Incidentally no one who has tried to write like Poe 
(verse: leave his prose out of it for the present) has done anything good. 
Personally I think an ambition to write as well as Poe a low one: an ambi- 
tion to write like Villon or Stendhal a great ambition.) 

And there is no use implying that I lack reverence for great writers. My 
pantheon is considerable, and I do not admire until I have thought; that is 
to say I do not admire until I (have) tested. One has passing enthusiasms: 
one finds in time lasting enthusiasms. 

I don't condemn any man who has made lasting or even more or less 
durable art. But can't you ever see the difference between what is 'good/ 
and good enough for the public, and what is 'good' for the artist, whose 
only respectable aim is perfection? 

I don't think Pindar any safer than Poe. 'Theban Eagle' be blowed. A 
dam'd rhetorician half the time. The infinite gulph between what you read 
and enjoy and what you set up as a model. 

'The difference between enthusiastic slop and great art' — there's a text 
to preach on in your glorious unfettered desert for the next forty years. 

Now about the {Catholic) Anthology: I believe Mathews is to publish it 
though I haven't the matter in writing. He says, € yes.' (Admitted he hasn't 


1915— aetat 29 

seen the contents, still I think the thing is fairly sure.) I have now got 
about all the people I can use. 

I have written to Sandburg, chosen two of his poems and want a few 

I have already commended Masters at the top of my lungs, but if he gets 
facetious he can follow Bret Harte to the dung heap. As a matter of fact, I 
think he keeps his ideal of form pretty constantly before him, though I 
dare say he gets little encouragement. (Yes, my American mail is 'in' this 

Bodenheim I am afraid I can't use this time, 1 I've got to keep some 
balance in the book. Nor yet Bynner. Nor Lindsay; he's all right, but we 
are not in the same movement or anything like it. I approve of his appear- 
ance in Poetry (so long as I am not supposed to want what he wants), but 
not in anything which I stand sponsor for as a healthy tendency. I don't 
say he copies Marinetti; but he is with him, and his work is futurist. And 
anyhow I shall be unremittingly damned for putting so much American 
stuff into the Anthology (which I don't mind, but I decline to suffer for 
what I don't believe in). Jingles and Bret Harte. The easy thing. 

You constantly think I undervalue elan and enthusiasm. I see a whole 
country rotted with it, and no one to insist that ' form' and innovation are 
compatible. Most of the people who have heard of good writing are all 
anchored at '76 and have forgotten it. Dam 'em. 

65: To H. L. Mencken 

London^ 17 March 

Dear H. L. Mencken: I am glad Wilkinson has turned out something 
acceptable. I came down with influenza within ten hours of getting back to 
London, so have not been able to do or find anything until yesterday. 

Cournos has translated a novelette from Sologub; you don't want trans- 
lations, but you do want novelettes so it might do at a pinch rather than 
nothing. His stuff is now with Constable; but if they have no objection to 
its being used in a magazine before they do the book, I have asked him to 
give you a shot at it. 

I will try also to get a complete ms. of Joyce's novelette-length story 
now running in The Egoist. They won't mind its appearing in the S.S. 

1 But some of Bodenheim's poems were used, under the signature 'M.B. ', as it 
was decided that his full name might be objectionable at a time when England 
was at war with Germany. 



here if you don't. It had appeared in The Egoist in such snippets, and The 
Egoist has so few readers that I don't think it would matter, and a lot of 
people (oh well, no, not a lot, I suppose, in the large sense of lot but 
some) who want the whole story would buy the S.S. to get it. The use of 
it in the S.S. might however cut into the firm who want it for book form. 
I can't tell yet. We'll see if you want it before we begin worrying. 

This is the first day I have had energy to go through my mss. I find the 
enclosed which have not been published. I have made clean copies of the 
best. I see reasons for an editor's being reluctant. Still, Yeats likes 'The 
Temperaments.' He says I have achieved the true Greek (he should say 
Roman) epigram. (Besides Bastidides is such a perfect portrait of a certain 
distinguished author who wouldn't recognize it, that I should greatly 
regret not giving it, sometime, to the light of day.) 

Sometimes I think 'Before you Were' has some guts. I don't know 
whether you will like it. 

I have signed 'Bishop Golias' with a nom-de-plume as it is so far out of 
the style of my present work, and I think a man ought only to print one 
style at a time. For god's sake don't lose that particular ms. as i 
don't know whether I have another copy, and I am still too tired to make 
out another. 

I am afraid the two poems, ' Prayer to a Lady,' and its companion piece 
lose a little force unless your audience know that Atys cut out his testicles 
in a fit of religious enthusiasm. 

However, here's the bloody lot, and if any of it is of use to you, so much 
the better. 

Joyce is evidently beginning to be 'the common man' (commercially 
even), for H. G. Wells' agent wrote in to say that H.G. had put him on to 
Joyce, and that he wanted to handle his stuff. 

That is, I think, the sum of the London news that I have gathered in the 
few days I've been up and about, save that we'll have out another BLAST 
soon, and that if you touch art, even en passant, Lewis (Wyndham Lewis) 
and Gaudier-Brzeska are great artists though their stuff is still so far from 
the public comprehension that I don't expect many people to believe me 
when I say so. Quinn has, however, written here to know if he can get a 
good statue by Brzeska; and whatever Picasso has done or is about to do 
in New York, I think Lewis will be able to go beyond it. I don't know what 
you intend about covers and posters for the S.S. but if you can get a man 
with a great future whose work is visible, mehercule ! and at the same 
rates, probably, as you would pay a nobody, it might in the long run pay, 
merely as advertising. 

I don't know whether you have seen my article on Vorticism in The 


19 1 5— ae tat 29 

Fortnightly Review for last Sept. It is a moderately clear introduction. In 
any case you might keep in mind the fact that Vorticism is not Futurism, 
most emphatically not. We like Cubism and some Expressionism, but the 
schools are not our school. Even though they are equally distant from 
Manet or from Alma Tadema. 

66: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 10 April 

Dear Harriet: No! Had I spent more than i minute 38 seconds on the 
parody on Lindsay — more per similar section of the poem — we had 
neither of us achieved the result, the elan, the free bravura, the fecundity, 
the felicity, the obvious rag-time of the cadence: jig jilly jig jilly jig, etc. 
Perfectly good humoredly. He is better than most, than any one else of 
your lot except Ford and Sandburg who are trying harder. 

Lindsay's top ambition is obviously Kipling, which is all well and good 
so far as it goes. Effervescence, futurism, it is very 'horrid' of me not to be 
enthusiastic about it, as I am for even the botches of some of the more 
constipated authors. 

The rural sarcasm of Indianapolis: 1 dear editor must have been smoking 
cigarettes illicitly. Has discovered the old trick of turning the picture 
upside down. Thoughtful man. Future before him. 

Do get on with that Eliot. 

67: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 18 April 

Dear Mencken: Here, at last, is the satire. 2 If Nathan thinks it is too long, 
I have not the slightest objection to his printing it as prose, though I 
believe with the loose rhythm it will read more quickly if the rhymes come 
at the ends of lines. 

Also I don't mind your cutting it, if you like — especially the 1st three 
pages, but I can't shorten it any more, and am inclined to think it would 

1 The Indianapolis News of 11 March 191 5 had printed Pound's 'Dogmatic 
Statement Concerning the Game of Chess' with the order of the lines reversed. 

2 'L'Homme Moyen Sensuel,' published in Pavannes and Divisions. 



be better, as it was in an earlier version, set down looser and longer. Note 
that the guts of all satire (Don Juan, for instance) are in the digressions, 
k propos de bottes, and that a Don Juan canto is about the shortest length 
convenient for such digression. Note that they run from 800 to 1600 lines. 
Well, I have done my job in a fourth part of that, i.e. about 240 lines. 

My business instinct, such as it is, makes me think the most advanta- 
geous thing all round would be to boom it as the satire, 'best since 
Byron.' New York is accustomed to a new Keats and a new Shelley once a 
fortnight and one might vary the note. It is not such an awful lie, if one 
considers that nobody has written satire, in the best English iambic 
tradition, since God knows when. Hood was sheer larks. Bret Harte merely 
advised the virtuous American to beware of the dangerous oriental 
Chinee. Arlington Robinson in 'Miniver Cheevy' satirizes one love 
eccentric. Nobody has taken on the whole caboodle. 

If it goes, I can turn you out an instalment every two or three months 
and it ought to focus some stray attention on the S.S. 

I think that my statements in the present whoop are intelligible. That's 
the intention. I have made my quiet classical remarks elsewhere, but here I 
want "em to know that they are being spoken to.' I think there is very 
little that won't be understood. 

Anyhow, something has got to be done with it, printed as prose or as 
verse. With occasional expunging if you like, though why bother? Call 
it literature, lay weight on the traditional excellence and it will go. Point 
out that Byron uses that naughty word ' syphilis' and that I don't. Observe 
that 'whore' and 'Jesus' are left blank (sic . . . ., ....,). 

As to the best form. A long, really long narrative like Juan is probably 
the best, but I am perfectly willing to recognize the exigencies of the S.S. 
and make each rip self-contained, as this one is. 

Also it is no stronger than some things you've printed. However . . . 
And it will rhyme when spoken by the most catarrhal kitchen-canary (and 
only then). 

I think there are one or two couplets that ought to melt even the stern 
heart of Nathan. And you might remind him that long poems can be 
popular provided they aren't too poetic. And we might cite examples even 
among our contemporaries. 

Part of the trick is a hurrying rhythm. Which was absent from your 
'Hot water bag' poem, which by the way I liked very much and meant to 
have sent my compliments via you to the author. 1 

1 'Certainly, It Can Be Done,' by John Sanborn, The Smart Set, April 191 5, 
pp. 389 ff. 


1915 — aetat 29 

Anyhow, in the present poem, I've taken off more trimmings than I 
should have, in a vain strife for a useless brevity. 

God be with you. 

Of course I don't expect the same rate per line for a lark of this length, 
as Wright paid for short poems. Comfort the treasurer. 

Also the word calor is not a misprint for color, page 4. 

68: To Harriet Monroe 

London, <?25> April 

Dear H.M.: Rupert Brooke is dead in the Dardanelles. I have some of his 
work, and will send the Post Mortem in a day or so, probably tonight. So 
it will reach you in time for the June number. As even if you had got the 
news by cable there would have been no time to do an appreciation in 
time for the May number. 

He was the best of all that Georgian group. 

69: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 2 May 

Dear Mencken: I am sending you an unbound vol. of some stories by 
Goldring; they were published under another name and had a fair bit of 

As nearly as I can tell such stories as 'Lily May,' 'A London Dawn,' 
'Savoir Faire,' 'Watch Night Service,' 'Life Wins,' are just about the stuff 
your public wants. In ' Life Wins,' though it obviously ' rings a bell ' in the 
last paragraph, he has got a curious English quality. I doubt if the story 
could have been written in any other country (that is, however, an aside). 
'Lily May' seems to me very good. The problem before the house is how 
much do you pay? Goldring says the stories take him a hell of a time to 

The cheque you sent him was not, so to speak, magniloquent (I know 
it's war time, so this is not a growl), anyhow you might send a tariff for 
stories of 2000, 4000, 7000 words. I judge by Wilkinson's cheque that £25 
is the rate for the long story. (?Can you pay more for long (25,000) 
stories (novelettes) by special people with some rep., or don't it pay to 
bother? 25,000 words is an unsaleable length after a writer has done a story 



of that size, so Pm not sure that you would gain much in offering a higher 
rate. On the other hand it is not everyone who will write for £<a)iooo). 

Your question about sending cheques via me. It don't in the least 
matter. As I explained to Wright, I can't take 20 cents or 10 dollars either, 
from a man across a tea table, especially when we are all rather impecunious 
together, and most of the people I send in are friends or at least acquaint- 

If you find an opening for my pamphleteering and polemical stuff, you 
can put me next to it, or if you see a comfortable salaried job you can 
remember my existence, or when you are again flush, in the days of a 
future peace you can send a bouquet to cover time and postal expenses if I 
have found you enough good stuff to warrant it. As I told Wright, it is 
quite impossible for me to set up as a literary agent. In the meantime don't 
worry about the matter. 

Wright, I think, took Hueffer's first year and a half of The English 
Review as his model, and the quality of The Eng. Rev. then depended, I 
think, very largely on the sort of personal touch between the office and 
writers, and that sort of personal touch is about all I can help you with. 
The fact that some editor actually wants the best he can get is a very con- 
siderable comfort to me; perhaps we had better let it go at that. 

A chap named Lynch is coming in tomorrow. I shall probably have him 
send something to you. (Utility rather than grace, I am afraid; however, 
he may be good.) 

I have, by the way, sent a sort of circular letter de rebus omnibus to 
various young writers in the U.S. Orrick Johns may bring it in for your 
perusal when it reaches him in the course of the circuit. There is a certain 
amount of work that ought to be put through: tariff ought to be taken off 
books, the people who insist on regarding America solely as a monument 
to John Quincy Adams, the pilgrim fathers, Geo. W. and Co., ought to be 
prodded, etc. Hope the note won't bore you to death. It is badly written, 
but for a private circulation I couldn't take the time to rewrite it. 

70: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 17 May 

Mygawddd! This is a rotten number of Poetry. 
Dear H.M.: It is, honestly, pretty bad. (Marianne Moore's) titles are nice. 
Beach is punk. A little bad Yeats will set us up a bit. 


191 5 — aetat 2,9 

Thanks, very much, for the kindness of the adv. of my stuff. If you 
repeat it, could you take out that silly quotation from the Telegraph's first 
review of Personae (A.D. 1909), and substitute the Times more measured 
speech re Cathay > i.e. the passages I have outlined in ink? 

I am sending a Manifesto via Johns, Williams, Masters, etc., which I 
want you to print (no charge !). Also I wish you could draw proofs of it 
and send one to each of the signatories as I want them each to print it 

I am not asking you, A.C.H., Mencken, Kreymborg or Dell to sign it as 
it is largely against the old magazines, and I don't think anyone in an 
editorial position ought to sign a manifesto definitely against other editors. 
It looks too much like boosting one's own show. 

H is a drivvelling ass, but kindly and amiable. S is worse, for 

he not only pours out amateurish blither, but he is a rich man who does 
nothing — god damn nothing — for the arts, recognizes no obligation, and 
on top of it tries to 'earn a living,' which means he hogs a minor job at the 
U. of P. which would be a living to some other man, but which wouldn't 

pay for the gasoline in S 's automobile. Blithering sow. To see him 

sitting in this room on my perfectly good furniture trying to get up nerve 
enough to spend £5 on a bit of sculpture, it's enough to make a cat spew. 

His name might appear on a list of guarantors, but it should appear no- 
where else. 

I have, as you see, re-marked the Times cutting. As a general position it 
is a good thing to have it in print. How the devil the Times got on, got as 
wide awake as to admit what I have been hammering on for five years, 
completely mystifies me. The phrase 'talking seriously and without 
parade,' is one of the best dicta on good poetry that has appeared in my 

Is literature limited to Christianity? 

Above subject for chaste debate in the American parliament. 

Oh well, it's a hell of a thing to be an editor or to be in any way respon- 
sible for the prog, of letters. Yours in sympathy. 

71: To Felix E. Schelling 

London, June 

Dear Dr. Schelling: Thank you for your note and for the monograph on 
professors. I have read with interest your remarks on 'time for digestion/ 
'buildings/ 'wasted time of the intelligent' etc. and heartily concur. I 



always wonder when the creative element will be recognized; when the 
mind of the student is to be recognized as, at least potentially, dynamic, 
and not solely as a receptacle. 

As for the Chinese translations, they have been approved by one or two 
people who know some of the originals. They are, I should say, closer than 
the Rubaiyat, but then the ideographs leave one wholly free as to phrasing. 
I mean, instead of * hortus inclusus ' you have a little picture of an enclosure 
with two or three stalks of [illegible ideograph] grass and a flower (very 
much abbreviated) inside. Or for 'to visit, or ramble' you have a king and 
a dog sitting on the stern of a boat, [ideograph] 1 (No, I don't make them 
nicely. I haven't a brush. The two top dabs are ripples or drops for the 
water.) This charming sign does not occur in Cathay. It is merely an 
exquisite example of the way the Chinese mind works. 

Of course, all the ideographs are not as amusing. Fenollosa has left a 
most enlightening essay on the written character (a whole basis of aesthe- 
tic, in reality), but the adamantine stupidity of all magazine editors delays 
its appearance. I had hoped to be able to write you of a new periodical 
which should do in English what the Mercure does in France, and where 
one might find ' Little Eyasses' and other matters which are interesting and 
not, in the worst sense, philology. However, it is still merely vision. 

Gaudier-Brzeska has been killed at Neuville St. Vaast, and we have lost 
the best of the young sculptors and the most promising. The arts will 
incur no worse loss from the war than this is. One is rather obsessed with 

P.S. Have you seen Hueflfer's When Blood is Their Argument} 

P.P.S. If you are interested in the Fenollosa papers, you will find a lot of 
stuff in The Drama for May. 

72: To Harriet Monroe 

London , (August) 

Dear H.M.: Bridges' new booklet is privately printed, but he has given 
me permission to quote the poems. It amounts practically to making a 
free contribution, I suppose. I think the two poems quoted in full are 
quite good, yes very good, especially the short one. And the cadence of 

1 This is a fantasy due to ignorance which the writer has since corrected. 


1915 — aetat 29 

the other is exquisite, I suppose I shall have to wait till he dies before I can 

do an appreciative character sketch. 

I send also the three jems of Eliot for September, and a forthcoming 
' Cousin Nancy' which may do to fill the second page. 1 

73: To the Editor of the Boston 'Transcript' 

London, {August) 

Dear Sir: I don't know that it is worth my while to call any one of your 
reviewers a liar, but the case has its technical aspects and the twistings of 
%ialice are, to me at least, entertaining. 

I note in Current Opinion for June a quotation from your paper to the 
effect that my friend Robert Frost has done what no other American poet 
has done in this generation 'and that is, unheralded, unintroduced, un- 
trumpeted, he won the acceptance of an English publisher on his own 
terms' etc. 

Now seriously, what about me? Your (?negro) reviewer might acquaint 
himself with that touching little scene in Elkin Mathews' shop some years 

Mathews: 'Ah, eh, ah, would you, now, be prepared to assist in the 

E.P.: 'I've a shilling in my clothes, if that's any use to you.' 

Mathews: ' Oh well. I want to publish 'em. Anyhow.' 

And he did. No, sir, Frost was a bloated capitalist when he struck this 
island, in comparison to yours truly, and you can put that in your edi- 
torial pipe though I don't give a damn whether you print the fact. 

You might note en passant that I've done as much to boom Frost as the 
next man. He came to my room before his first book A Boy's Will was 
published. I reviewed that book in two places and drew it (to) other 
reviewers' attention by personal letters. I hammered his stuff into Poetry, 
where I have recently reviewed his second book, with perhaps a discretion 
that will do him more good than pretending that he is greater than Whit- 
man. E. L. Masters is also doing good work. 

You understand I don't in the least mind being detested by your under- 
strappers, but I think you owe it to the traditions of the Transcript to keep 
them within the bounds of veracity. 

1 Only three of the four were printed: 'The Boston Evening Transcript', 
'Aunt Helen', and ' Cousin Nancy', Poetry, October 191 5. 



Of course, from the beginning, in my pushing Frost's work, I have 
known that he would ultimately be boomed in America by fifty energetic 
young men who would use any club to beat me; that was well in my calcu- 
lation when I prophesied his success with the American public and 
especially with the American reviews, and I rejoice to see that it has caught 

But your critic's statement is caddish. Moreover, I think it unwise that 
you should encourage that type of critic which limits the word 'American' 
to such work as happens to flatter the parochial vanity. It is not even 
Chauvinism. It is stupid. 

74: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 25 September 

Dear Harriet: Itow tells me he is going to America next 

week. I have given him a note to you. I am very fond of him, though I 
mostly detest the Japs, i.e., the moon-faced thin-minded sort. This man is 
a samurai, more like an American Indian to look at, the long face you see 
in some of the old prints. 

I don't know whether Drama or A.C.H. or anyone can get him any- 
thing in Chicago. He has a good engagement in N.Y. His arm work is 
very interesting — better than the Russians — ; foot work not so good. He 
himself a fine fellow. 

Don't know that there is much news. Hueffer up in town on leave 
yesterday. It will be a long time before we get any more of his stuff, worse 
luck. He is looking twenty years younger and enjoying his work. 

Yeats still in Ireland. Eliot back here, thank God. Monro discovered 
'Prufrock' on his unaided own and asked me about the author when I saw 
him last night. I consider that Harold is dawning. He was very glad to hear 
that T.S.E. was in the forefront of our {Catholic) Anthology. It was a great 
waste to let the 'Portrait of a Lady' go to Others, but I was in a hurry for 
it to come out before the Anth. as you know. 


1915 — aetat 29 

75: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 2 October 

Dear H.M.: I have cabled my vote for Eliot. As you might have known. 

I see no other possible award of the prize. And besides, something 
ought to be done to atone for the war-poem scandal. 1 

Of the people worth keeping up, Masters and Williams have profes- 
sions. Masters' Spoon River appeared elsewhere and the poem he sent us is 
not of any special importance. Johns would be my second choice, but his 
v/ork in this volume of Poetry is hardly solid enough. Still it would be 
better to give the prize to him than to a yahoo. Cannell has a good poem; 
H.D. has two small verses: but it would be imbecile to compare Cannlll's 
stuff to Eliot's, and H.D.'s is less important (in this vol. certainly). Lindsay 
. . . Oh gawd ! ! ! Besides he has had a prize, and I don't suppose he is any 
more eligible than I am. Sandburg had the prize last year. 

No, if your committee don't make the award to Eliot, God only knows 
what slough of ignominy they will fall into — reaction, death, silliness !!!!!! 

Bodenheim shows promise in some mss. sent me, but he has nothing in 
this year's Poetry, and besides he is young enough to wait. Ajan is not 
American, besides he is not as good as Eliot, not anywhere near. You can 
take Hueffer's commendation of Eliot to back up mine, if it is any use to 
you. Even Monro's Devonshire Street occiput has been pierced. 

Eliot's poem is the only eligible thing in the year that has any distinc- 

The average of the year has been perhaps better than the two years 
before, but there has been no particularly notable work. Except ' Prufrock' 
(and, si licet, ' The Exile's Letter'). 

The things to be avoided are, naturally, an award to Amy, Skinner, 
Fletcher, Lindsay or Aiken. Or even Ficke. If you don't give the £40 to 
Eliot, for God's sake award it to yourself. 

However, De Gourmont is dead and the world's light is darkened. I 
write this expecting the worst. I will send in an obituary of De Gourmont. 

1 A special prize for a war poefn was awarded to 'The Metal Checks' by 
Louise Driscoll, Poetry, November 191 4. 


76: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 12 October 

Dear H.M.: Buncumb about Brooke ! 

A. There is no mention of Brooke in BLAST. 

B. The verse referred to was written months before his death, and 
BLAST was supposed to go to press in December. I am not responsible 
for Lewis' times and seasons. 

C The verse contains nothing derogatory. It is a complaint against a 
literary method. Brooke got perhaps a certain amount of vivid poetry in 
life and then went off to associate with literary hen-coops like Lascelles 
Abercrombie in his writings. 

Brooke would have been amused by the lines, at least I hope and sup- 
pose he was man enough to have been entertained by them. If he wasn't, 
God help him in limbo. 

Now that his friends have taken to writing sentimental elegies about his 
long prehensile toes, it might seem time for him to be protected by people 
like myself who knew him only slightly. 

If he went to Tahiti for his emotional excitements instead of contracting 
diseases in Soho, for God's sake let him have the credit of it. And for 
God's sake if there was anything in the man, let us dissociate him from his 
surviving friends. 

Something ought to be done to clear him from the stain of having been 
quoted by Dean Inge, and to save him from friends who express their 
grief at his death by writing such phrases as: (yes, here it is verbatim) 

'in fact Rupert's mobile toes were a subject for the admiration of his 

That, madame, is the sort of detractor upon whose evidence you com- 
plain of me. 

77: To Douglas Goldring 

London, <?22> November 

Dear Goldring: I have had some cables from Q. He says he has fair hopes 
of success with the magazine. 

I don't know of anyone who wants to pay for their own publication. I 
have written to one man in America to send on his poems. He wouldn't 


1915— aetat 30 

expect to be paid anything, but I doubt if he could put up much or any- 

Eliot has about 15 or 20 poems. He would let you have them if I sug- 
gested it, but then he has no money and besides he oughtn't to be asked to 
pay. He can obviously get published when he is really ready. A small book 
of M.M. might strike. 

Elkin is now in such a funk over the title of the anthology that he'd pro- 
bably let you have special rates if you stocked a lot of it. 

I wonder if you couldn't make some sort of profit in taking on approval, 
or on sale, large orders, say 200 copies of good books that haven't gone. 
Joyce's Dubliners hasn't sold. If you had a decent traveller you might 
develop the system. It wouldn't be the same, quite, as buying remainders. 
You would, without paying anything down, undertake to push good 
stuff, stuff that you believed in, stuff the publisher couldn't sell himself, or 
isn't selling, and that he would let you have at half rates, or something of 
that sort. 

It would needs brains in selecting stuck books with some go in them, 
ma che. 

It wouldn't need capital on your part, which seems to be your difficulty. 

I shall be at Yeats' this evening (18 Woburn Bids, next St. Pancras 
Church). He goes to Ireland tomorrow. Perhaps if you get this in time 
you'll look in there. 

You might stir up an interest, or get a marked individuality as a firm, by 
my suggested scheme. I don't know. . . . Various authors might be willing 
to back you to some extent. 

I don't suppose my Guido Cavalcanti is any use to anyone. The sheets 
are mostly at the binders where they were left by Swift and Co.'s demise. 
I could let you have them for next to nothing if they are any possible use 
to you. The binders want 2-1/2 d. a copy (in sheets) for their lien, but I 
dare say they'd take less. I could let you have them flat for what I have to 
pay the binder, and wait until you have sold some before you pay me 
anything. You needn't take but a couple of hundred to begin on. If you 
are amind to print a new title page and call it a new edition ? at 1/ (the first 
edtn. was 3/6) price ????, as we think fit, I may be able to find some decent 
press notices . . . probably lost ma chb. . . . 

For god's sake don't touch it unless you think there's a chance for you 
to make something. 

It seems to me you might do a Poetry Bookshop minus the Aber- 
crombie element. However let's wait until we can talk. 
. If you don't show up this evening, perhaps you could drop in some 
evening during the week? Wednesday par example? 



78: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 1 December 

Dear H.M.: Of course the Brooke matter was an error. Ma che! It can't 
harm anyone but me, and it can't hurt me much ('where I live'). Besides it 
is as much the fault of BLAST as mine; Lewis ought to have got the 
magazine out sooner. However, admitting it is an error, I by no means 
consider it a felony, and I am not going into mourning. Other young men 
have gone, and will go, to Tahiti, and they will write Petrarchan verses, 
and they will be envied their enthusiastic princesses. 

No one has ever swarmed up a cocoanut tree on my account, though I 
have heard the second person singular of the personal pronoun. And they 
are not black in Tahiti, only a faint pinkish chocolatine colour, 'a very 
beautiful people' as Manning says. 

Yes, the prizes 1 were peculiarly filthy and disgusting, the £10 to H.D. 
being a sop to the intelligent. However, I knew it would happen. I know 
just what your damn committee wants. 

As to T.S.E. the 'Prufrock' is more individual and unusual than the 
'Portrait of a Lady' ! I chose it of the two as I wanted his first poem to be 
published to be a poem that would at once differentiate him from everyone 
else, in the public mind. 

I am sending on some more of his stuff in a few days, I want to see him 
and talk it over first. Thank God he has got a job in London after Xmas. 

Re Frost: I must again insist that I did not send that letter to The 
Transcript but to the editor as a private citizen. I think however that the 
charge of my being jealous of Frost ought to be nailed, perhaps even at the 
disclosure of state secrets. . . . However, I am sorry if it annoyed you. But 
I do get wroth at the difficulty I have in getting stuff printed in Poetry now 
and again. I didn't know it was the coon I was answering, nor did it enter 
my head that The Transcript was a hostile organ. I thought they had 
always treated me fairly well, otherwise I should not have written them 
at all. 

Most certainly I did not write the letter to Braithwaite. He isn't the 
editor of The Transcript ! ! ! ! Good heavens ! ! ! 

Little Bill (i.e. W.C.W. as distinct from Big Bill, W.B.Y.) writes that 
Amy is roaring around a good deal. He also says that she and Fletcher are 

1 The Helen Haire Levinson Prize of $200 was awarded to Vachel Lindsay for 
'The Chinese Nightingale'; a guarantor's prize of $100 was awarded to Con- 
stance Lindsay Skinner for 'Songs of the Coastdwellers'. 


1915— aetat 30 

to be united in wed-lock, but this seems too perfect a consummation for 
me to believe it without further testimony. 

Well, I must dust out of this. Keep on moving, remember that poetry is 
more important than verse free or otherwise. Be glad you have a reckless 
competitor in N.Y. (Others) to keep you from believing that scenery alone 
and unsupported is more interesting than humanity. Really geography is 
not the source of inspiration. Old Yeats p&re has sent over such a fine 
letter on that subject. I hope to print it sometime, or see it printed. 

I really must stop. Am arranging new channel of communication with 
Paris, etc., etc., etc. 

H 11} 


79«' To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman 9 s Hatch, 21 January 

Dear H.M.: Jan. to hand. A.C.H. by far the best of it. The 'One City 
Only,' as you know, I like. The Sarasate poem, with its memory of 
Spanish metre, is also good. 

Rodker had a mood, has not quite caught it. F W is muck of the 

last variety, maudlin, philanthropists, sloppy sentimentality. 'Blanche 
(of the Quarter)/ I once knew a fine upstanding woman who had faced 
strikers, lived her own life in vigorous probity, and had what we can call 
by no other name than a 'fine character,' rather the old 'spartan sort/ 
her language also was normal. But in contemplating the sort of female that 
writes ' Blanche "s she said: 'Matter with 'em? Matter with 'em!!! They 
ought to be caught once and raped.' 

I do not agree in the case of the W female. She should be eliminated. 

She has no excuse, travel won't save her. Life in the 'monde yanqui 
polonaise' won't save her, travel will not develop her wits. Blowing 
about her tolerance !!!!!!!!!! Gosh. 

If Untermeyer had read my original imagist outlines he'd see that 
Heine is one of the very people on whom one wished to focus attention. 
It is Heine vs. the rhetoricians that one wants. I haven't the back files down 
here, but I think I have definitely indicated Heine as one of the lights. 
However let the Killkennies slaughter each other. 

F W is a fine example of whatW.B. Y. has called in painting ' the 

mangel-wurzel period.' Vide pictorial correspondence Anne Estelle Rice 

Yeats and Hueffer both seem grumped about your anth. (The New 
Poetry). You did ask 'em for pretty big sections ... and despite signs of 
improvement (chiefly Masters, who will be read here), the possibility of 
being printed along with a great exposition of transpontine talent does not 
yet lure the developed mind. I doubt if I can do anything about it. F.M.H. 
is taken up with his soldiering and one only sees him when he's on leave. 

I hope you are not including all the contributors to Poetry in the 
anth. . • • However, I shall be interested to see the result. 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

I believe, if Spoon River goes well enough, and if you print more E.M. 
you might — or he might, if he are not too beastly occupied — get his 
English publisher Werner Laurie, to circulate Poetry properly in 

And what the hell is the use of people writing about (page 203) people 
being 'sodden with drink and capable too of the highest flights of the 
soul'? 'Mr. Jones not only kept a horse but a yellow canary.' Is Amy's 
book any good? She has read a reasonable amount and ought to know the 
subject, but her weakness for Fort is a febrile symptom. Still she got 
started before Fort went so to rot and it is hard to drop an enthusiasm. She 
ought to be a great service to her contemporaries Ma ch&. . . . 

80: To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman s Hatch, January 

Dear H.M.: Joyce has at last sent some poems. He says he sends 3 and 
only encloses 2. I shall try to get typed copies from him. 'Flood' is, I 
think, worth printing. Can you manage to pay him at once} 

Perhaps you can use both the poems. He is a writer who should be kept 
up. And it is the war that has put him out of his job in Trieste (this last is 
not an aesthetic reason). 

It is an outrage that he shouldn't have got something from his books by 
now. Which isn't our fault. Ma chfc. 

81: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

Coleman's Hatch, {February) 

Dear Miss Weaver: I agree with you. If Lewis' novel (Tarr) begins in 
April, my article should go into March, with a rather full announcement 
that the novel is to start in April, and that a new 'bust out* is expected. 

I think sample copies of both March and April might be sent to the list 
of names I have sent you, unless you think that too lavish. It might pay. I 
don't know. The prod plus the curiosity about the novel. . . . 

I shall not send in any copy for April, as I think all possible space ought 
to be given Lewis in that number. My eleven further articles can be sent in 



as you wish, or if you wish. You can announce that I am to contribute 
during the coming year, or not, as you like, in the March number along 
with die other announcements. It may please as many as it will displease. 

Perhaps Madame Ciolkowska might also make some announcement. 
She might give her stuff a new name or something. She is usually interest- 
ing, I don't suggest any real change in the nature of her copy, but she 
might start a 'New Series' or something, just to make it look as if the 
spring house-keeping were thorough and vigorous. 

I think Aldington might be put onto Prose Authors of the Renaissance. 
Poggio, Aretino, Sannazzaro, Erasmus* dialogues, etc. I don't want to 
interfere with any of his plans, but if he is ever to do a book on that period 
it might be of use to him to get his general material into shape, and a series 
of this sort with some biographical matter might be made rather human 
and interesting. One might go back as far as Petrarcha. I haven't read his 
prose, but there may be more snap in it than in his verse. The articles 
should be informative rather than controversial. I believe Poggio's travels 
are interesting if anyone could be persuaded to dig out the right selections. 
At least it would be 'off the war' widiout being too precious. The historic 
background is interesting if he will take the trouble to 'get it up.' 

About Madame Ciolkowska, if she could find, say six writers each 
worth a full article, it might have a bit more grip, and be a better start for a 
'new series.' It can't be denied that Paris is rather dead just at present. I 
wonder if there were any interesting 'heavy' books brought out just 
before the war ? ? ? ? 

Oh well, enough of this. 

82: To Harriet Monroe 

Coleman 9 s Hatch, (February) 


I began reading it carefully, pleased that someone should try the impos- 
sible, knowing the immense difficulty. I meet diree attempts at the ' Viva- 
mus, mea Lesbia.' Not much Catullus and a lot of muck added. Then I 
come to positively the worst travesty of the 'Ille me par esse deo videtur' 
that has ever been perpetrated. In this poem Catullus changed, and made 
possibly a little more austere, Sappho's 'PHAINETAI MOI KENOS 

Even Landor turned back from an attempt to translate Catullus. I have 


19 1 6 — aetat 30 

failed forty times myself so I do know the matter. But there are decent 
and dignified ways of failing, and this female has not failed in any respect- 
able way. 

The most hard-edged and intense of the Latin poets should not be 
cluttered with wedding-cake cupids and cliches like 'dregs of pain,' etc., 
etc., ad. inf. Pink blue baby ribbon. 

You need not communicate my opinion to the female. — There's no use 
cutting up a writer unless there is some chance of doing them some 

I think it would be a mistake to review a book of so little worth as this 
is, however nicely printed. It shows neither merit nor promise, there is not 
enough good to make it profitable to point out the faults. 

As for 'mood transcriptions/ nothing could possibly be further from 
Latin feeling than this bake-shop decoration. God ! she's no better than 
Storer, probably not so good. 

Now another matter. Talking with Yeats yesterday, he said it is ' ridicu- 
lous for Poetry to sell at six pence, you ought to charge a shilling.' This 
point is perhaps worth considering. 

P.S. Forty years of hard labour might teach the Catullus female some- 
thing but I doubt it. 

83: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 5 March 

Dear H.M.: I had a long letter from (Sturge) Moore which I have 
destroyed. I have to some extent pacified him as you see by this card. 

But I wish you could realize the uncomfortable position you place me 
in by reducing the rates of payment without informing me. I am not inti- 
mate with Moore and therefore it is all the worse. Or rather I don't know 
which is worse in dealing with these older men who have been accustomed 
to certain consideration: to have an intimacy clouded as by the reduction 
on Hueffer and the scandalous shift later, or to be put de puntos with a 
man whom I meet rather frequently at W.B.Y.'s but with whom I have 
always a slight disagreement. 

Again the anthology crops up (in his first letter which I destroyed). Of 
course, here people get paid for lending poems to anthologies. Where one 
is breaking die way, as I was in Des Imagistes, or trying to bring in new 
people as in the Cat. Anth., there is no money. But America has no stand- 



ing here, and if you write for free contributions, you must at least write as 
if you were asking and not conferring a favor. Perhaps you did. Neither, 
considering the awful rabble that has been admitted to Poetry, can you 
expect men of position here to be eager to appear in a book simply quali- 
fied as an anthology from Poetry ', or whatever it is you tell them. 

As to rates, less than ten dollars per page is not a good rate. One gets ten 
or fifteen dollars for a sonnet in plenty of places, and Poetry gets much 
more than 14 lines to a page . . . and the less commercial the man, the less 
will he be bothered with fuss. 

Of course I dare say his damn poem is only eight pages long. ... Ma 
ch& Cristo ! ! 

Still: either Poetry is Maecenas, upholding a principle that poetry ought 
to be decently paid, or else it is a sheet begging for favours . . . which last 
it, of course, is not. But nothing is more enraging to a writer than to 
receive less than he has been led to expect (even if it is only ten cents less) 
for a job. 

As W.B.Y. writes to his sisters: ' Are you a convent, or are you not? ' 

Another detail you might remember is that every Englishman has once 
or twice or twelve times in his life been cheated by one or more of our 
compatriots. (I myself more times, and I should never trust an American 
voluntarily and consciously until I had known him some time.) This is of 
course unfair to the 99 just men in the hundred, but it takes so little to stir 
up all the memory these people have of 'American business,' that these 
small misunderstandings are very difficult for me to deal with. 

What I want, and what would be best for the magazine would be for me 
to be able to select from Moore's mss. — from anybody's — and to know 
when he had done a really fine thing and then get it. This of course can't 
be done after strained relations. No one in England will submit stuff for 
editorial selection — at least no one worth anything. The present political 
degradation of our country will not help things. 

Being the best magazine in America is not good enough (that you know 
perfectly well). There is this country — intelligently selective even when 
not creative (at least more intelligently selective than ours). There is also 
an absolute standard. 

P.S. The fact that there's an awful slump in Eng. poetry just at this 
moment is all the more reason why we should go on trying to maintain our 
contention that we print the best of it. Moore isn't a colossus but still he 
isn't a yahoo like Chesterton, etc., etc. 

We ought to have had that incomprehensible thing of H.D/s in the 
March Egoist and there were two decent things by R.A. in the Poetry 
Journal some time ago. When do we get some Masters}}} Mind you, I 


1 9 1 6— aetat 30 

thought the last Poetry (Feb.) fairly solid and the prose stuff uniform. 
(Yes, quite apart from Sandburg on me.) I thought die standard of criti- 
cism in the number good, and without the howlers that so often annoy 


84: To Kate Buss 

London, 9 March 

Dear Miss Buss: It is always pleasant to know that one has a reader. As 
my American royalties amount to about one dollar 85 cents per year, I am 
naturally surprised to discover, or have revealed to me, the presence of so 
rare a phenomenon, habitat U.S.A. 

I have forwarded your request for books to Mathews. Now unfortun- 
ately Mrs. Henderson wrote to me or him only a fortnight ago, I suppose 
about you, and I think from a note of Mathews' which I have mislaid that 
he, like the sap-headed imbecile that he is, has sent your lot of books to the 
infernal chasm of the Boston Transcript. If you don't receive them in a 
week or so, or if they don't turn up unlabeled at the B.T. office (in which 
case they will probably be given to the janitor), I think you had best write 
to Mathews. 

I enclose announcements of part of my immediate activity and will put 
the photo either in this envelope or another, depending on its size when I 
find it. (I am just back from Sussex and still littered with the debris of 
Gaudier's studio, so it may be a long process — the finding.) It is the most 
recent, probably the most disagreeable, and slightly resembles Mr. Shaw, 
which I do not. 

Re Gaudier-Brzeska: leaflet explains itself. 

Re Egoist: Am trying to put a little life into it again. If I succeed in 
getting a little cash I shall properly revive it. Lewis' novel is entertaining, 
and I am much pleased with their sporting intention of publishing Joyce's 
novel in despite of all fools, printers, censors, etc., whatsoever. It, the 
novel, is a very fine piece of work, and I hope you will review it also when 
it finally comes out. 

Of course American publishers ought to be stirred up into doing such 
things. They are rather weak in the back, also they skulk behind the 
beastly tariff on books, which you and the rest of the inhabitants should 
not sleep until you get rid of. It is as bad as a second Wilson. 



Further announcement: 





Now being published by the Cuala Press (10/6). I expect proofs any day. 
I dare say they'll send you a review copy if you write to them for it. 

But if you want 'copy' you'd better save it for an article on 

the new theatre, or theatreless drama, about which there'll be a good deal 
to say soon, as Yeats is making a new start on the foundation of these Noh 

My occupations this week consist in finally (let us hope) dealing with 
Brzeska's estate; 2, getting a vorticist show packed up and started for New 
York; 3, making a selection from old father Yeats' letters, some of which 
are very fine (I suppose this will lap over into next week), small vol. to 
appear soon; 4, bother a good deal about the production of Yeats' new 

This letter as a pure prose composition may suffer slightly in conse- 

Biographical or otherwise: Born in Hailey, Idaho. First connection with 
vorticist movement during the blizzard of '87 when I came East, having 
decided that the position of Hailey was not sufficiently central for my 
activities — came East behind the first rotary snow plough, the inventor of 
which vortex saved me from death by croup by feeding me with lumps of 
sugar saturated with kerosene. (Parallels in the life of Fracastorius.) After 
that period, life gets too complicated to be treated coherently in a hurried 
epistle. It is very hard to compose on this topic. 

Bibliography is in Who's Who, I think; at least it is right in the English 
W. W. I can't keep track of the others. 

Small Maynard in Boston are supposed to publish two of my books, a 
selection of poems and an ill-starred Guido Cavalcanti (I dare say they will 
send you a review copy of that, or them, if you ask). I wish someone would 
put a little dynamite under them for it is slightly ridiculous that the 
.000000000000000000000% of the great American public which wants my 
work should have to send to England for five or six small books instead of 
decently purchasing one volume inclusive and up to date in the U.S. 

I shan't publish again here until after the war, so with the exception of 
Cathay, there is nothing newer than Ripostes diat is available. I don't know 
why all the spirit of adventure in these matters should be confined to a few 
round sleepy little old men in this city. Besides Coburn has done such a 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

classic effigy that even Yeats thinks it ought to placate the public and con- 
sole them for the verses to follow. He complains now that my stuff gives 
him no asylum for his affections. (That is intimate conversation and not 
for quotation save indirectly.) 

I have told Mathews to send you also a Cat. Anth. {Catholic Anthology). 
The Jesuits here have, I think, succeeded in preventing its being reviewed 
in press (at least I have seen no review during the past months). Poor 
Elkin wailing, 'Why, why will you needlessly irritate people?* 

E.P.: 'Elkin, did you ever know Meynell to buy a book?' 

E.M.: ' n n n n n- no, I ddddon't know that he ever did. He always wants 
me to be giving him books. He he he said, " You won't sell a copy, sir, you 
won't sell a copy," banging the table with his fist.' 

(That you can quote, anywhere you like.) 

I think die decent papishes are just as much pleased as anyone else, and 

have just as clear a vision of the firm of as anyone else has. 

Having forged the donation of Constantine (some years since) they now 
think the august and tolerant name belongs to them, a sort of apostolic 

I know I should be more grave in view of events on the continent, but I 
can't spend all my time writing obituaries; which seems about all there is at 
the moment. I shall try to finish a brief 'Henry James' for the May Egoist. 

What have I left out? Do keep an eye out for Joyce and also for T. S. 
Eliot. They are worth attention. 

The Poetry with your Armenian stuff hasn't yet arrived. 

Interruption of two hours. It is now too late to go on with 

P.S. I am afraid this is a very helter-skelter sort of reply, but short his- 
tories of one's life are difficult impromptu. 

85: To John Quinn 

London, 10 Match 

Dear Quinn: Lewis has just sent in the first dozen drawings. They are all 
over the room, and the thing is stupendous. The vitality, the fullness of the 
man ! Nobody knows it. My God, the stuff lies in a pile of dirt on the man's 
floor. Nobody has seen it. Nobody has any conception of the volume and 
energy and the variety, 



Blake, that W.B.Y. is always going on about ! ! ! 1 Lewis has got Blake 
scotched to a finish. He's got so much more in him than Gaudier. I know 
he is seven years older. Ma chi Cristo ! 

I have certainly got to do a Lewis book to match the Brzeska. Or per- 
haps a * Vorticists' (being nine-tenths Lewis, and reprinting my paper on 
Wadsworth, with a few notes on the others). 

This is the first day for I don't know how long that I have envied any 
man his spending money. It seems to me that Picasso alone, certainly alone 
among the living artists whom I know of, is in anything like the same 
class. It is not merely knowledge of technique, or skill, it is intelligence 
and knowledge of life, of the whole of it, beauty, heaven, hell, sarcasm, 
every kind of whirlwind of force and emotion. Vortex. That is the right 
word, if I did find it myself. 

In all this modern froth —that's what it is, froth, 291, Picabia, etc., etc., 
etc., Derain even, and the French — there isn't, so far as I have had oppor- 
tunity of knowing, one trace of this man's profundity. 

Brzeska's ' Jojo' sits impassively before me, flanked by a pale mulatto, 
and something (blue drawing) in spirit like Ulysses in a storm passing the 
Sirens. If any man says there is no romance and no emotion in this vor- 
ticist art, I say he is a liar. Years ago, three I suppose it is, or four, I said to 
Epstein (not having seen these things of Lewis, or indeed more than a few 
things he had then exhibited), ' The sculpture seems to be so much more 
interesting. I find it much more interesting than the painting.' 

Jacob said, 'But Lewis' drawing has the qualities of sculpture.' (He may 
have said 'all the qualities' or 'so many of the qualities.' At any rate, that 
set me off looking at Lewis.) 

What the later quarrel with Jacob is, I do not know, save that Jacob is a 
fool when he hasn't got a chisel in his hand and a rock before him, and 
Lewis can at moments be extremely irritating. (But then, damn it all, he is 
quite apt to be in the right.) 

Oh well, enough of this. You'll soon have the stuff before you. 

86: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 17 March 

Dear Miss Weaver: I personally should prefer the Joyce novel without 
an introduction by anyone. However, that is a practical point outside my 


1916— aetat 30 

As for early or late in the season, I think that is all nonsense in connec- 
tion with a book of this sort. If it were to be sold by Smith and the other 
barrators, or if it were to go through the usual channels of corruption 
there would be some reason for consulting their times and seasons. But a 
book like this which the diseased and ailing vulgar will not buy can take its 
own course. 

If all printers refuse (I have written this also to Joyce) 1 suggest that 
largish blank spaces be left where passages are cut out. Then the excisions 
can be manifolded (not carbon copies, but another process) by typewriter 
on good paper, and if necessary I will paste them in myself. The public can 
be invited to buy with or without restorations and the copyright can be 
secured (on) the book as printed. That is to say the restorations will be 
privately printed and the book-without-them ' published.' 

And damn the censors. 

Joyce is ill in bed with rheumatism, and very worried, and I hope for his 
sake, as well as for the few intelligent people who want the book, that it 
can manage to come out. 

Professional people never have any real knowledge about what an un- 
usual book will do, and when cornered they usually confess it, so I don't 
think their advice about times and seasons is worth much. And par ex- 
ample, the 'practical* Pinker was able to do less than I was, and was very 
glad of my aid in getting the mss. even read. 

Let me know when you want copy for May number, s.v.p. 

P.S. Pardon haste of this note but I am really hurried. 

Can you come to tea with us sometime when I get a spare hour? I will 

87: To Wyndham Lewis 

London^ March 

Dear Lewis: I have cabled Quinn, written to Miss Weaver, and had up 
Pinker's office on the phone. They say he won't be back today (I phoned 
at 2.15, it is now 2.25). His secretary says Joyce's ms. is now at Werner 
Laurie's. I don't think that matters, but . . . , no, I don't think it matters 
save that V's pull will be strengthened or weakened according as W.L. 
likes or dislikes the Joyce. 

P.S. Perhaps old Stg. Moore could do something with the Royal Lit. 



88: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 30 March 

Dear Miss Weaver: I find that the name and address of Kreymborg's pub- 
lisher is John Marshall, 331 Fourth Ave., New York, U.S.A. 

I have just written him direct a very strong letter re Joyce, advising him 
to print the Joyce in preference to my book, 1 if his capital is limited. I 
can't go further than that. 

I advise you to send him (i.e., mail to him not to Kreymborg) at once 
the leaves of The Egoist containing the novel and also the bits the printer 
cut out. He may as well have it all, and at once while my letter is hot in his 

My other letter was to Kreymborg for Marshall, I think the two letters 
ought to penetrate some one skull. 

89: To Iris Barry 

[Pound had seen some of Iris Barry 9 s poems in Harold Monro s magazine, 
Poetry and Drama. On 2 April he wrote to Miss Barry, asking if he might 
see more of her work and suggesting that some might be used in Poetry 

London, 17 April 

Dear Miss Barry: It is rather difficult to respond to your request for 
criticism of your stuff. I am not quite satisfied with the things you have 
sent in, still many of them seem to have been done more or less in accor- 
dance with the general suggestions of imagisme, wherewith I am too much 
associated. The main difficulty seems to me that you have not yet made up 
your mind what you want to do or how you want to do it. I have intro- 
duced a number of young writers (too many, one can't be infallible); 
before I start I usually try to get some sense of their dynamics and to dis- 
cern if possible which way they are going. 

With the method of question and answer: Are you very much in earn- 
est, have you very much intention of 'going on with it,' mastering the 
medium, etc.? Or are you doing vers libre because it is a new and attrac- 

1 This Generation, never published. 

1916— aetat 30 

tive fashion and anyone can write a few things in vers libre? There's no use 
my beating about the bush with these enquiries. I get editorial notes from 
odd quarters blaming me that I have set off too many people. 

I can send on your stuff to Chicago as it is, if you like. I should prefer to 
see more of it first, if that is convenient. 

Coming to details. In 'Impression,' I don't think 'dissolved* is just the 
right word, though I recognize that you may have been aiming at a sort of 
restraint or under-emphasis which can be effective. 

In 'The Fledgling,' 'emancipated from the home 'seems to me a defin- 
itely Fabian Society or cliche phrase, you might have used it with " " 
marks in an ironic passage, but the rest of this poem is grave, and the 
reiteration of 'The fire is nearly out, the lamp is nearly out' in the first 2 
and last 2 lines seems to me very effective. In fact, the poem seems to me to 
be good, and all its words in one tone, homogeneous, in key, save this one 
Latin, doctrinaire term. 

I am not sure that the sonnet 'The Burial' isn't the best of the lot. Not 
that I like it best. 

The Sapphic affair seems to spoil itself by a touch of trifling. I may be 
wrong. I think both passion and sensuousness are really without humour. 
One can be ironic and critical of their defects, or one can be gravely in 
sympathy. I can't recall any effective poetry that does not comply with one 
or other of the cases ? ? ? ? ? ? 

Some of the things seem to me 'just imagistic,' neither better nor worse 
than a lot of other imagistic stuff that gets into print. If I am to hurl a new 
writer at the magazine with any sort of conviction I must have qualche 
cosa di speciale, I must have at least three or four pages of stuff which 
'establish the personality.' At least I am not interested in the matter unless 
I can do that. I simply forward some mss. without comment. 

In some of the 'regular' stuff, you fall too flatly into the 'whakty 
whackty whakty whakty whak,' of the old pentameter. Pentameter O.K. 
if it is interesting, but a lot of lines with no variety won't do. 

I don't see what you gain by the form ' maked ' in ' Biography' ? ? 

Re cadence: 'Some loving thoughts still linger here with me,' seems 
rather a flat hobby horse sort of movement, that we've all heard till we're 
dead with it. So many of your pentameter lines seem all in one jog 
whereas the metre skillfully used can display a deal of variety. 

With some of the things, as I said, there is nothing to distinguish you 
from a lot of neo-imagists, and there are too d'd many neo-imagistes just 
at present. 

'Monstrance' seems to me a beastly literary, magazine-poetry sort of 
word. Enough to spoil any mood. 



No, hang it all, the stuff in Poetry and Drama (Dec. 1914) seems to me 
to have more passion and considerably more individuality than anything 
you have sent me in this sheaf. 

'That . . . which . . .' etc. in 'Persian Desert* line 5 seems a little 
clumsily arranged. 

(Of course if a thing moves one, all this minutiae is no matter, or not 
much matter, but a series of these minute leakages will sink a poem, or a 
group of poems.) As to this particular poem, I can't read it so as to make 
the final cadence really a close or ending. (That may be my dulness, but I 
don't get the rhythm. The last line seems to me to be a tripping little line, 
gaily running tatatati, four very short little vowels, the soft 'owl' and then 
the long ie.) 

I think you might get a certain edge or cut of sensuousness, passion 
whatever you like to call it, and which would relieve the very gentle sort 
of impressionism-imagisme of ' Picture,' which is quite nice as it is, but not 
different from a poem I received last week. 

It is so dashed hard to find poems different from the poems rec'd last 
week, and the beastly magazine gets so depressing if one doesn't find them. 

I don't know whether any of these suggestions are any use to you, or 
whether you want to 'have another go' at any of the poems you have sent 
in.???? In any case I should like to see a large mass of your stuff, if there is 
a larger mass. (If there isn't or if there isn't going to be ... it is not much 
worth my while arguing with an editor.) Though in any case I would 
send on to Chicago some or all the mss. you have sent in, if you wish it. 
Several of the things would do to fill up a group of things if there were a 
few more salient poems to fire it. 

On second thought I return you the poems which interest me least (five 
of them). 

There is a newer American publication, which alas does not pay its con- 
tributors, but which would print some of those I am keeping if Poetry 
refused. But I want a larger lot of poems to look through before I send 
any off. 

My present feeling is that ' nothing is worth while save desire* and I am 
sick of verse without it. Or else there is a bitterness which shows the trace 
of desire, that also can make good verses, but placidity is a drug, at least 
for the season. 

Ah well, you may have got a worse overhauling than you wanted, but 
one can't criticize and be tactful all at once. And at any rate, I shan't have 
kept you waiting six months for an answer. 


1 91 6— aetat 30 

90: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 21 April 

Dear H.M.: April number depressing. Re March: I didn't mean you to 
print that letter to you, 1 and not to Poetry, that you quoted. What I did 
want printed was the note on The Dial, and I repeat for the 444444444444- 
44th time that I can not see any sense in your keeping on terms with these 
old dodderers, treacherous decrepit old beasts who would, you know per- 
fectly well, stab you in the back the first chance they got, and suppress us 
all together. 

However, on the positive side: 

I think — both because it would be a good thing in itself, and since there 
has been such a deluge of rhetoric and slush spilled over new verse, and 
since you have printed excerpts from my not very compact or well-phrased 
letter — that: 

It would be a good thing to reprint my original ' Don'ts,' with the addi- 
tion of a few notes, emendations or additions. An 8 or ten or 12 page 
pamphlet for ten cents. It would certainly pay its expenses, and it could be 
more widely dispersed than a bound volume of Poetry at 1.50 would be 
likely to be. It would be much better than my writing new articles pointing 
out the various sorts of silliness into which neo-imagism or neogism is 
perambulating, which latter could with difficulty escape allusions to Amy 
and Fletcher, etc. etc. 

The first anthology was designed to get printed and published the work 
of a few poets whose aim was to write a few excellent poems, perhaps not 
enough for even the slenderest volume, rather than the usual magazine 
thousands of E B , the futurist diarrhoea, rhetorical slush, etc. 

That first type of poet is the one worth caring for. I do not think the 
present methods of the neoists are in any way designed to further or foster 
the 'few perfect' things against Chestertonian or Paul Fortian sloppiness. 
The general copying of a few of the most superficial characteristics of the 
first group of writers does no more good to American poetry than the 
former slavery to the Century-Harper's ginger-bread, stucco, paste-board 
ideal. You will remember that the 'Don'ts' were originally intended as a 
slip to be sent with returned mss. so the idea of a pamphlet is not so far off 
the original intention. 

Production in England at present very low. I have had in 

some stuff from Iris Barry, have sent back part and told her to let me see a 

1 Letter No. 60, p. 91, was printed in Poetry, March 1916. 


larger mass. I think one can get a four or five page group from her, 

Eliot has been worried with schools, etc. (i.e. teaching, not schools of 
verse or porpoises). He is to come in next week to plan a book, and I will 
then send you a group of his things. 

91: To Iris Barry 

London, 24 April 

Dear Miss Barry: Don't bother to type mss. for me if you have so little 
free time; your hand is fairly legible. . . . Still, one does sometimes see a 
poem better in typescript, but don't bother to make new copies. 

1 Impression 9 1 'dissolve' is bad not only because it is, as I think, out of 
key with what goes before but because it really means a solid going into 
liquid, and when you compare that to pear-petals falling, you blur your 
image. Conceivably, crystals suspended in liquid might dissolve quickly, 
but if they fell they would slip away slowly through the water. At least the 
word bothers me. 'Faster' may be the hitch; one doesn't always get the 
real trouble at the first shot, but one can sometimes tell about where it lies. 
You might say 'Then we drifted apart' or forty other things; the phrase 
'friendship was dissolved' is I think newspaperish, and then it is passive 
and your comparison is active: ' petals fall'; 'was dissolved.' 

(You are quite right, it is much easier to go at such points in talk than by 
letter. However.) 

It isn't so much 'getting a better word' very often as doing a new line. 

Your practice with regular metres is a good thing; better keep in mind 
that <it) is practice, and that it will probably serve to get your medium 
pliable. No one can do good free verse who hasn't struggled with the regu- 
lar; at least I don't know anyone who has. 

In 'The Fledgling': I don't see why you don't say simply 'escape' 
instead of 'be emancipated.' The 'for ever' in your 'gone for ever' 
emendation seems to me a litde in excess of the real emotion (which is 
desire to get free, rather uncalculating) ? ? ? ? ? At least it is a little out of key 
with the rest of the words ... as I feel it. 

Re ' Girls 9 1 1 think you are right, it is not the best you can do, and you 
had better take a new canvas. 

Re ' Monstrance' *: You are out of my depdi. I don't in the least know 
what to say about a word that has a Catholic association. If it has, it will 


1 9 1 6— aetat 30 

probably make the word or the poem right to Catholic readers. ?? Is 

there any way of making it carry to non-Catholic readers to whom 
'monstrance' gives a sort of mood-breaking jolt? Ars longa. 

In 'Nocturne 9 : 1 wonder if you are right to jump from 'slipped* in the 
first strophe, to 'remember' in the second. I shouldn't say 'His young 
head crowns,' inversion with no special meaning or reason. 

'In the Desert 9 1 The 'that stirs which' can be avoided in a dozen ways. 
'Wind steps through the darkness' (possibly too violent). 

The thing I notice in your emendations is that you stick very tight to 
the form or arrangement of words you have already used. Better get the 
trick of throwing the whole back into the melting-pot and recasting all in 
one piece. It is better than patching. 

A new line or a new word may demand the rewriting of half a poem to 
make it all of a piece. 

Re metre: What they call 'metre' in English means for the most part 
'iambic' They have heard of other metres and tried a few, but if the music 
of the words and the feel of the mood are to have any relation, one must 
write as one feels. It may be only an old hankering after quantitative verse 
that is at the bottom of it. All languages I think have shown a tendency to 
lengthen the foot in one way or another, as they develop. 

Well, send on what you've got and I will go through it. 

92: To Iris Barry 

London, 2 May 

Dear Miss Barry: No, there's no hurry about retouching the rest of the 
verses. I can't place them anywhere to any advantage until the first lot 
comes out in Poetry, not, that is, unless by a very rare chance we bring out 
another BLAST. Not that this is any reason why you shouldn't send 
them (i.e. the verses attacked) or the new ones to me whenever you feel 
like it, only there is no external or mechanical cause of haste. 

If you can't escape your Birmingham, you had better get Karl Appel's 
Provenialische Chrestomathie out of the university library. German publi- 
cation not likely to be got for you through a bookseller, but the university 
ought to have it. (There is a university in B. isn't there?) I'll lend you 
what's left of my copy if there isn't. 

And really you mustn't send me large books of stamps. In my strictly 
quasi-editorial capacity, I may have used about six, which I remove for the 
sake of companionability. 

I "9 


93: To Iris Barry 

London y May 

Dear Miss Barry: If you have a passion for utility, and if by any chance 
you intended to get my new volume of poems Lustra when it comes out, 
then do for God's sake order your copy at once and unabridged. 

The idiot Mathews has got the whole volume set up in type, and has 
now got a panic and marked 25 poems for deletion. Most of them have 
already been printed in magazines without causing any scandal whatever, 
and some of them are among the best in the book. (It contains Cathay \ 
some new Chinese stuff and all my own work since Ripostes.) 

The scrape is both serious and ludicrous. Some of the poems will have 
to go, but in other cases the objections are too stupid for words. It is part 
printer and part Mathews. 

At any rate if you were going to want the book, do write for it at once, 

The printers have gone quite mad since the Lawrence fuss. Joyce's new 
novel has gone to America (America !) to be printed by an enthusiastic 
publisher. Something has got to be done or we'll all of us be suppressed, 
a la counter-reformation, dead and done for. 

P.S. Elkin Mathews called in Yeats to mediate and Yeats 

quoted Donne at him for his soul's good. I don't know what will come of 

94: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 5 June 

Dear H.M.: So long as you put the 'Cabaret' question on the grounds of 
expediency and the assininity of your guarantors, or in fact on any ground 
save the desire of the editor for the candy box, I suppose I must submit. I 
enclose the only other poem I have ready, to go with the inoffensive selec- 
tion you already have. For god's sake print 'em at once. 

My next contribution will probably be a 40 page fragment from a more 
important opus. 

I approve of your trying to use the larger things (re Head etc.); but 
Drama is a dam'd form, tending nearly always toward work of secondary 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

intensity, though the tendency doesn't always set in strong enough to 
wreck the work. 

I am writing to W. H. Davies for some poems. I was much impressed 
by his reading a few days ago. I doubt very much if the things will carry in 
print; at least they must lose a lot by not having them done by his own 
voice, but there seems to be something in him, or rather in his later work. 
I saw the early stuff some years ago, and he hadn't then got very far. 

I didn't much mind my letter to you being printed, but there were 
things I wanted printed much more, and the letter could have been much 
better if it had been intended for print. The very name of the U.S. presi- 
dent is an obscenity. I suppose it is debarred on these grounds. 

My Lustra is all set up, and I find I have been beguiled into leaving out 
the more violent poems to the general loss of the book, the dam'd bloody 
insidious way one is edged into these tacit hypocrisies is disgusting. 

I don't mean I have left out anything I put into the ms. Certainly the 
'Cabaret* is there in its entirety, etc., but the pretty poems and the 
Chinese softness have crept up in number and debilitated the tone. 

What you object to in the 'Cabaret' is merely that it isn't bundled up 
into slop, sugar and sentimentality, the underlying statement is very 
humane and most moral. It simply says there is a certain form of life, 
rather sordid, not gilded with tragedy any more than another, just as dull 
as another, and possibly quite as innocent and innocuous, vide, my singers 
in Venice. The thing the bourgeois will always hate is the fact that I make 
the people real. I treat the dancers as human beings, not as 'symbols of 
sin.' That is the crime and the ' obscenity.' E poi basta. 

95: To Iris Barry 

London, June 

Dear Miss Barry: I am sending Bill 'The Cup,' 'The Daughter,' 'La 
Coquette,' 'Biography,' 'Public Gardens,' 'Head Clerk,' 'Resentment, 
I don't imagine he will be able to use them all, but he may as well suit 

I make the following notes on other poems. 'Wet Morning': 'Too 
tender to have become grimed' is a weak line. I am sorry about your holi- 
days, also you should have a chance to see Fenollosa's big essay on verbs, 
mostly on verbs. Heaven knows when I shall get it printed. He inveighs 
against 'is,' wants transitive verbs. 'Become* is as weak as 'is.' Let the 



grime do something to the leaves. 'AH nouns come from verbs.' To prim- 
itive man, a thing only is what it does. That is Fenollosa, but I think the 
theory is a very good one for poets to go by. 

Try the Hon. lover in vers libre, leave the rhymes in but let them come 
where they will, and try leaving out the extra words (if they are extra). 
Another variant would be to let the 'Us* stay on at the end of the line . . . 
'upon.' The present line-form of the poem interferes very much with the 
cadence, and gives a jolt where one oughtn't to be. 

I think however you would find the weak spots and eliminate them if 
you wrote out the poem without inversions and chucking the sonnet 

In 'Complaint' chuck 'Lo' and 'do you think they,' and then see if it 
will form up into anything. 

If you can send back these quite soon, I will send them also along to 
Williams. Others is a harum scarum vers libre American product, chiefly 
useful because it keeps 'Arriet,' (edtr. Poetry) from relapsing into the 

Get loose whenever you can. I am sending 'The Daughter' in prefer- 
ence to 'The Burial'; there isn't room for both in so small a bundle. I 
don't think the other poems are quite good enough, or even good enough 
without the 'quite.' 'In Two Months' has something in it. 

Poor Mathews can't send you the unabridged Lustra yet as it ain't 
printed. However, he has been persuaded into doing 200 copies un- 
abridged for the elect and is allowed to have the rest of the edition almost 
as modest as he likes — God knows, the whole thing is innocent enough, 
but the poor man has had an awful week of it. — I suppose he has some 
right to decide how he'll spend his money. 

Monro is called up on Saturday so that stifled my shifting the book to 
the Poetry Book Shop. 

96: To Wyndham Lewis 

London, 24 June 

Dear Lewis: Judging the matter from the depths of my moderately com- 
fortable arm chair, with the products of your brush, pen and the reproduc- 
tory processes of the late publisher M. Goschen before me — or from free 
seats at the opera — I can not see that the future of the arts demands that 
you should be covered with military distinctions. It is equally obvious that 
you should not be allowed to spill your gore in heathen and fiirrin places. 


1916— aetat 30 

I can only counsel you to endure your present ills with equanimity and 
not to be too ready to see malice where mayhap none is intended. Nothing 
exists without efficient cause. I can but ask you to contemplate the position 
as deeply as you are able, and that without passion, and from all points of 

I should suggest that you spend your spare time with a note book, pre- 
paring future compositions. If you like I will send a copy of Cathay so that 
the colonel may be able to understand what is imagisme. 

You didn't send me your address so I couldn't forward the Egoists, 
which I send herewith. 

Ed. Wad(sworth) went off yesterday for Lemnos. Don't think my 
opening paragraphs unfeeling. I only ask you to consider all possible 
interpretations of fact before you rush to an emotive conclusion. I trust 
you will not think the remarks imply a personal bias on my part, but take 
them rather as a point of view which may be held by persons other than 
the writer. 

I appear to be the only person of interest left in the world of art, Lon- 
don. I have had a fine row over Lustra; as both Mathews and the printer 
decline to go on with it on grounds of indecorum, I am getting 300 copies 
printed almost unabridged at Mathews' expense and he is to print the rest 
castrato. I have placed a Jap book with Macmillan, which is a peg up for 
me. The enclosed circular, with the young damsel squirming neath the 
jujube tree, is for your comfort. It will fill you, in the midst of your 
afflictions, with a sense of your own dignity, and show how badly you are 
needed here as a police force. However it is supposed to net me £20 
which I bloody well need. 

Met that pig M S at the U.S. consulate, by accident. He gave 

me a taxi ride and a good cigarette. He said he would be very glad to con- 
sider Tarr if I could get him a loan of the ms. Publication after the war. 

Pinker also wanted to know if he might be allowed to vend the ms. As 
he has been no use re Joyce's stuff, and I have done all the work, I don't 
see that there is much use dealing with him. A. P. Watt fixed me up with 
Macmillan in about a week. I don't know whether Tarr is in his line. 

I have not heard from Quinn re receipt of pictures. He didn't seem keen 
on paying for BLAST. He said he put up as much as I thought he ought to, 
but I did not feel it would be wise to press the matter. I should want £100 
to lubricate it. 

I have now £25 of his which I have asked permission to pay over to you. 

For the rest, don't be more irritating to your unfortunate 'superior' 
officers than you find absolutely necessary to your peace of mind, or at 
least try not to be. 



And don't get wroth with the Egoist for cutting the novel. The sooner 
they get through serializing it the better, for then we can get it published 
decently in vol. form. 

And do try to penetrate the meaning of some of this note. 

97: To Wyndham Lewis 

London, 28 June 

Dear Lewis: I still rather doubt whether you have got to the bottom of 
my beastly letter. The information I received, or the assurances were very 
definite and at the same time very general. They are hardly repeatable, and 
as they tacitly forbade me to make any further more meticulous enquiry, 
their substance was very much what I have already conveyed to you . . . 
but in a sort of categorical and imperial tone. 

That is to say 'The gods grant your prayers to the letter, neither more 
nor less. . . . Cease from troubling the gods.' 

I will have a copy of Cathay transmitted. I think I perhaps sympathize 
more with your desire for advancement than the tone of my last note 
might seem to show. I will wait for a fitting moment. Balfour between the 
second and third acts did not seem to me to present a favourable target. It 
is not his dept. and he would have been distinctly annoyed. He considered 
that Shelley's best work was done in his youth, etc. 

Your Colonel seems more contemporary in his interests. Besides you 
see more of him. 

I don't believe A. P. Watt would be any use re an article for the Dily 
Mile. The last link with Goschen is either 'joined up' or evading the mili- 
tary. God knows I don't know how to go at a thing of this sort (article 
into D. Mail), I have never been able to get printed in any English paper 
save the New Age and Egoist, and the more august reviews. 

The £25 malheureusement is not yours till Q. instructs me to pay it 
you, which won't be till he gets my letter saying I have recovered it for 

We know not any k Beckett, but D. thinks she may have a cousin who 
does. She has never met the cousin. 

I am bubbling at my Jap plays for MacM. If Q. is successful in N. Y. in 
placing various things, I may get started on the brochure concerning your 
glory. De Bossch&re is very much impressed with 'Timon,' says 'we have 
nothing like it in Paris.' Not exactly news. Ma che. 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

98: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 12 July 

Dear Miss Weaver: A friend has persuaded Heinemann to read Joyce's 
novel for himself. I have sent on my sole set of Egoists but Heinemann 
says something is missing. Can you send him the complete ms. at once? to 
his private house not to the office. 

Don't mention my name, s.v.p. 

George Moore has also been reading Joyce with approbation. We'll get 
the thing started sometime. 

99: To Iris Barry 

London, lyjuly 

Dear Miss Barry: I believe the Underground runs from here to Wimble- 
don. At least I have a map with black lines on it, moving in that direction, 
and I think it implies some form of conveyance. I will enquire with due 
diligence. Also as to time consumed in transit. Place of arrival, whether 
two or six stations in Wimbledon, etc. 

As to marks of identification in case there be two males loose on the 
platform??? Do you wish any, or will you trust purely to instinct? And I? 

The 'Whitman Chesterton' definition is new to me. Manning in one of 
his more envenomed moments once said something about 'More like 
Khr-r-ist and the late James MacNeil Whistler every year.' 

It would be a shame to pass in silence for the want of a boutonniere. 
Perhaps a perfectly plain ebony staff, entirely out of keeping with the rest 
of the costume will serve. Perfectly plain, straight, without any tin bands, 
etc. at the top of it. Emphatically not a country weapon. 

And what am I to look for? 

100: To Wyndham Lewis 

London, July 

Dear Lewis: Quinn has sent the other £25, which I will forward to you as 
soon as I hear that the address on this envelope is still the right one. 

He now says he 'agrees with what' I say about Lewis. He expects to 



make an offer for certain other works 'ten or twelve or possibly i j.' That 
is rather indefinite and I doubt if you could sue legally if he changed his 
mind. However! ! ! ! Davies seems to be friendly. He offered to pay half 
the freight when Montrose refused. Quinn naturally wouldn't let Davies do 
it. Still it shows a sporting mind on the, or in the skull of Davies. Q. thinks, 
or thought, in a former note that Davies might buy something. 

The £25 which I now have for you finishes up the £150 of the agree- 
ment with Q. for the Kermoos etc. 

I have just returned from a dam'd week by the seawaves. Eliot present. 
Eliot in local society. Fry, Canon, Lowes Dickinson, Hope Johnson 
(none of whom I met). Had the ineffable pleasure of watching Fry's sylph- 
like and lardlike length bobbing around in the muddy water off the pier. 

Met Hueffer's brother-in-law on the plaisaunce. He said a shell had 
burst near our friend and that he had had a nervous breakdown and was for 
the present safe in a field hospital. Ford's brother Oliver is in the trenches. 
(These small bits of news will doubtless cheer and enlighten you. Thank 
God I have got back to the court-suburb.) 

Ed Wad has arrived in Mudros. He has written me an epistle which I 
will forward to you if you have not received one of your own. 

P.S. Eliot, after mature deliberation, has discovered that Fry is 'an ass.' 
Eliot has walked into his landlady's bedroom, 'quite by mistake,' said he 
was looking for his wife. Landlady unconvinced. Wife believes in the 
innocence of his intentions. Landlady sympathetic with wife. Landlady 
spent Sunday placing flowers on her mother's grave. Landlady (in paren- 
thesis) unmarried but under fifty. 

Oh yes, called at Leicester gallery day before I went toward seawaves. 
Phillips away ill, so accomplished nothing. 

10 1 : To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 19 July 

Dear Miss Weaver:. Will you please write at once accepting Huebsch 
(? I think it is Huebsch) offer for the U.S.A. edition of Joyce. I will phone 
Pinker at once also. I have just heard that Marshall has met with personal 
calamities which, while they exonerate him wholly for his neglect to answer 
letters, will make it impossible for him to go on with anything. 

Don't write to Joyce for a few days, it will only give him needless 
worry, and in a few days we may have a reply from Heinemann. 


19 1 6— aetat 30 
102: To Iris Barry 

London, <? 20) July 

KOMPLEAT KULTURE : Schedule at 11 227 b 5 q/12/4685 
The main thing being to have enmagazined some mass of fine literature 
which hasn't been mauled over and vulgarized and preached as a virtue by 
Carlyle, The Daily Mail, The Spectator ', The New Witness, or any other 
proletariat of 'current opinion.' This mass of fine literature supposedly 
saves one from getting swamped in contemporaneousness, and from think- 
ing that things naturally or necessarily must or should be as they are, or 
should change according to some patent schedule. Also should serve as a 
model of style, or suggest possibilities of various sorts of perfection or 
maximum attainment. 

Greek seems to me a storehouse of wonderful rhythms, possibly im- 
practicable rhythms. If you don't read it and if you can't read Latin trans- 
lations from it, it can't be helped. Most English translations are hopeless. 
The best are in prose. 

MacKaiPs Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology (Longman's, 
Sreen, 2/) is worth reading. 

There is a translation of Theocritus; I think Andrew Lang had some- 
thing to do with it. Parts are readable and beautiful, especially the 'Wheel 
of the Magic Spells.' (I think it is book IV, Idyl 2.) 

I don't know that one can read any trans, of the Odyssey. Perhaps you 
could read book XI. I have tried an adaptation in the 'Seafarer' metre, or 
something like it, but I don't expect anyone to recognize the source very 

Certainly the so-called 'poetic' translations of Greek drama are wholly 

Wharton's 'Sappho' is the classic achievement. That you should find in 
any decent library. 

I am mailing you MacKaiPs Latin Literature. It is in many ways un- 
trustworthy and vicious, but MacKail has the grace really to care for the 
stuff he writes of. He is the poor dam'd soul of the late Walter Pater. Has 
written some poems which I thought, fifteen years ago, were finely 
chiselled. The translations from the Greek Anthology, mentioned above 
are O.K. I owe him a few grudges. His praise of Tacitus moved me and I 
ruined my English prose for five years, trying to write English as Tacitus 
wrote Latin. Very bad. However, I may have learned something by it. I 
now know that the genius of the two languages is not the same. 



Catullus, Propertius, Horace and Ovid are the people who matter. 
Catullus most. Martial somewhat. Propertius for beautiful cadence, 
though he uses only one metre. Horace you will not want for a long time. 
I doubt if he is of any use save to the Latin scholar. I will explain some- 
time viva voce. 

Virgil is a second-rater, a Tennysonianized version of Homer. Catullus 
has the intensity, and Ovid might teach one many things. 

The 'Pervigilium Veneris* is beautiful; it is, however, MacKail's own 
pet infant and he is a little disproportionately lyric over its beauty. 

To the best of my knowledge there is no history of Greek poetry that is 
worth ANYthing. They all go on gassing about the 'deathless voice' and 
the 'Theban Eagle* as if Pindar wasn't the prize wind-bag of all ages. 
The 'bass-drum,' etc. 

This is a very short list but you'd better do at least this much 'classics' 
to keep you steady and to keep your general notion of poetic development 
more or less shapely. Possibly you can find a French prose translation of 
Catullus and Propertius. 

There was poetry in Egypt; I have seen a small book of interesting 
translations and forgotten the name. Cathay will give you a hint of China, 
and the ' Seafarer' on the Anglo-Saxon stuff. Then as MacKail says (p. 246) 
nothing matters till Provence. 

After Provence, Dante and Guido Cavalcanti in Italy. 

Very possibly all this mediaeval stuff is very bad for one's style. I 
don't know that you have time to live through it and???? to survive? (If I 
have survived.) 

The French of Villon is very difficult but you should have a copy of 
Villon and not trust to Swinburne's translations (though they are very fine 
in themselves); they are too luxurious and not hard enough. Not hard 
enough, I mean, if one is to learn how to write. There are dull stretches in 
the ' Testament ' but one has to dig out the fine things. 

That is enough to keep you busy for a week or so. (Or for a year or so, 
as the case may be.) 

I have now got to shave, out of respect to the Chinese Minister. 

I have read your things and will send critique when I have energy 
enough to write it. 


1916— aetat 30 

103: To Iris Barry 

London> 27 July 

Dear Iris Barry: Of course I might have known you had most of Villon 
by heart, but the bounds of even my knowledge are not without their 
limit, and I was probably thinking more about the actual amount of 
poetry worth knowing than about what you had or hadn't imbibed. We 
therefore expand our apologies. You have read Villon, Ford Madox 
HuefFer, the anthology Des Imagistes, nine verses by me, Omar Kayamm, 
forty-five vols, on dissection of plants and animals, Zola, . . . enough of 
this. So long as you don't adore Milton and Francis Thompson, it don't 

Send on the B as soon as you like. Only you did give the chap 

away when you made the chance remark that he feared plagiarism. It is as 
bad as Cannell's being afraid to read anything for fear it would destroy his 
'individuality.' !!!!!!!!!! Same weakness put the other side to. If a man 
has anything it can't be either taken from him or rubbed away. 

To continue the schedule. 

I ought perhaps to emend what I said of Tacitus. So long as one writes 
poetry and not prose, he may do one good by stirring up one's belief in 
compression, compactness. The force of phrase, and of the single line. 

After Villon one can, I think, skip everything down to Heine (whom 
you have also committed to memory). 

If you have nothing to do and are going in for lyricism and grace there 
is a side line. Charles D'Orleans and the Pleiade. And Burns is worth study 
as technique in song rhythms. But I don't think this is the main line. 

Theophile Gautier is, I suppose, the next man who can write. Perfectly 
plain statements like his 'Carmen est maigre' should teach one a number 
of things. His early poems are many of them no further advanced than the 
Nineties. Or to put it more fairly the English Nineties got about as far as 
Gautier had got in 1830, and before he wrote ' L'Hippopotame.' 

I don't quite know what to say about more recent French poets. 
Whether they aren't too likely to set one to imitation of not the best sort I 
am not sure. One ought to be strongly ballasted against them. I wonder if 
my This Generation will be out before you get to them. Part of it is about 
them. I'll give you a list of what's worthwhile, whenever you want it. 

I think however you'd do yourself more good reading French 

prose. ???? How much have you read? How much have you read 

as a reader reading the story ? ? How much as artist analysing the method ? 



As I said Sunday, I suppose Flaubert's Trots Contes^ especially ' Coeur 
Simple/ contain all that anyone knows about writing. Certainly one ought 
to read the opening of the Chartreuse de Parme, and the first half or a 
more than half of the Rouge et Noir. Shifting from Stendhal to Flaubert 
suddenly you will see how much better Flaubert writes. And yet there is a 
lot in Stendhal, a sort of solidity which Flaubert hasn't. A trust in the 
thing more than the word. Which is the solid basis, i.e. the thing is the 
basis. You have probably read the Education Sentimentale and Madame 

I really think this little list and the short list I have already sent contains 
die gist of the matter. 

Sometime, certainly, you must have the souffle of contemporary French 

Sometime before that I think you shall try a huge mass of Voltaire. I am 
having him very late. Until I get to the end of the eighth fat vol. I shan't 
know how much I shall want to hurl at you. Perhaps you should read all of 
the Dictionnaire Philosophique. Presumably no other living woman will 
have done so. One should always find a few things which ' no other living 
person' has done, a few vast territories of print that you can have to your- 
self and a few friends. They are a great defence against fools and against 
the half-educated, and against dons of all sorts (open and disguised). 

Yeats and I spent our last winter's months on Landor. There is a whole 
culture. I don't quite know whether you will like much of it. Perhaps you 
had better keep it till later. I think it might get a little in the way if you try 
to gobble it now. It wants leisure and laziness. And he (Landor) isn't very 
good as a poet save in a few places, where he is fine, damn fine, but he is no 
use as a model. One has got constantly to be thinking that ' this is fine, but 
this is not really the right way to do it.' 

Your first job is to get the tools for your work. Later on you can stuff 
yourself up with erudition as much or as little as suits you. At forty you 
will probably thank god that there is something you haven't read. 

And English poetry???? Ugh. Perhaps one shouldn't read it at all. 
Chaucer has in him all that has ever got into English. And if you read 
Chaucer you will probably (as I did though there is no reason why you 
should be the same kind of imbecile) start writing archaic English, which 
you shouldn't. 

Everybody has been sloppily imitating the Elizabethans for so long that 
I think they probably do one more harm than good. At any rate let 'em 

Wordsworth is a dull sheep. He will do you no good though he was 
better than some, and if there were no French prose and nothing worth 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

reading one might learn a little about descriptions of nature from his end- 
less maunderings. 

Byron's technique is rotten. 

I am not sure however that Crabbe's The Borough isn't worth reading. 
It at least shows a gleam of sense. The man was trying to put down things 
as they were. Apart from his tagging on morals, he is safe reading. He is in 
some ways more modern than a lot of moderns. (He is antique neverthe- 
less, but still he is perhaps worth an evening.) 

In the main one should read French prose. When you want die modern 
French poets I will send on the list of the intelligent ones. 

You might learn Latin if it isn't too much trouble. If it is, I shall have to 
read a few Latin and Greek things aloud to you, and possibly try to trans- 
late 'em. 

The value being that the Roman poets are the only ones we know of 
who had approximately the same problems as we have. The metropolis, 
the imperial posts to all corners of the known world. The enlightenments. 
Even the Eighteenth Century is obsessed by the spectre of Catholicism, 
the Index, the Inquisition. The Renaissance is interesting, but the poets 
inferior. The Greeks had no world outside, no empire, metropolis, etc. etc. 

It is best to go at the thing chronologically, otherwise one gets excited 
over an imitation instead of over a creation or a discovery. 

What about Browning? Does he entertain you? Is it possible to read 
him after you have been reading Russian novels? I don't know, I read 
him before I knew there were any Russian novels. I don't in the least think 
there is any reason in particular why you should read him now. (Same 
applies to Yeats. We've been flooded with sham Celticism for too long, 
imitations of imitations of Yeats, and of the symbolistes ad infinitum. Soft 
mushy edges.) Also Kipling has debased much of Browning's and Swin- 
burne's coin. The hell is that one catches Browning's manner and manner- 
isms. At least I've suffered the disease. There is no reason why you 

Some of the books I can mail you when you want 'em. 

The whole art is divided into: 

a. concision, or style, or saying what you mean in the fewest and clear- 

est words. 

b. the actual necessity for creating or constructing something; of pre- 

senting an image, or enough images of concrete things arranged to 
stir the reader. 
Beyond these concrete objects named, one can make simple emotional 
statements of fact, such as 'I am tired,' or simple credos like 'After death 
there comes no other calamity.' 



I think there must be more, predominantly more, objects than state- 
ments and conclusions, which latter are purely optional, not essential, 
often superfluous and therefore bad. 

Also one must have emotion or one's cadence and rhythms will be vapid 
and without any interest. 

It is as simple as the sculptor's direction: 'Take a chisel and cut away all 
the stone you don't want.' ? ? ? ? No, it is a little better than that. 

Don't hurry. I am not sending back your poems, because it is more 
important you should take in fodder. You will get a lot more from the 
general reading than from the inspection of a few minute and problem- 
atical flaws in your last things. 

Another time also I shall send you a great mass of work by some of our 
coNtemporaries, as an awful example of all the what-not-to-do, and the 

And if you can't find any decent translations of Catullus and Proper- 
tius, I suppose I shall have to rig up something. At least we can talk them 

What else? 

Oh well, perhaps you'd better send me a list of what prose writers 
you've read since Zola, as a guide to my senescent feet. With little marks 
saying whether or no you learned anything about writing by reading 'em. 

When you do want Landor, sing out, and I'll try to name the parts 
worth beginning on. 

Spanish, nothing. Italian, Leopardi splendid, and the only author since 
Dante who need trouble you, but not essential as a tool. Spain has one 
good modern novelist, Galdos. 

E basta. 

104: To Iris Barry 

London, August 

Dear Iris Barry: Certainly send on the 3 page disclosure. Your poems are 
on the other side of a floor I have just stained and it is too wet and sticky to 
cross. You shall have them in a few days. I don't suppose you want that 
list of contemporary French poets yet??? You can't have got to the end of 
the other lists. Don't kill yourself, and remember it is August. Fm sorry 
about the Wharton, only, as I remember it, he does give a decent and lucid 
prose translation, wherewith one can follow the Greek. 


1 9 1 6— aetat 30 

I prize the Greek more for the movement of the words, rhythm, per- 
haps than for anything else. There is the POIKILOTHRON and then 
Catullus, ' Collis O Heliconii,' and some Propertius, that one could do 
worse than know by heart for the sake of knowing what rhythm really is. 
And there is the gulph between TIS O SAPPHO ADIKEI, and Pindar's 
big rhetorical drum TINA THEON, TIN' EROA, TINA D' ANDREA 
KELADESOMEN, which one should get carefully fixed in the mind. I'll 
explain viva voce if this metatype-phosed Greek is too unintelligible. 

It is perhaps a sense of Latin that helps or seems to have helped people 
to a sort of superexcellent neatness in writing English — something differ- 
ent from French clarity. It may be merely from the care one takes in fol- 
lowing the construction in an inflected language. 

If you are panting for the Frenchmen, they are, with all sorts of quali- 
fications and restrictions, R£my de Gourmont, De R^gnier (a very few 
poems), Francis Jammes, Jules Romains, Chas. Vildrac, Tristan Cor- 
BifeRE, Laurent Tailhade, Jules Laforgue, (dates all out of order), Rim- 
baud. I'll make out a list of books, when you are really ready, also send 
you V Effort Libre anthology of the younger men. There's no hurry 
about returning the things you have. 

When verse bores you or is too great a strain you are ever at liberty to 
study De Maupassant, and to consider the excellent example which Flau- 
bert set us in sitting on De M's head and making him write, and De M's 
excellent example in doing what he was told. ... In describing such and 
such a concierge in such and such a street so that Flaubert would recognize 
which concierge when he next passed that way, etc. . . . Consider the wagon 
full of young ladies in 'La Maison Tellier.' 

That is the way to write poetry. 

Macmillan has started setting up my Jap play book. 

That imbecile Mathews will never finish with Lustra. I have just rec'd 
four large cheques for vorticist pictures sold in America . . . and shall have 
to turn them over to the artists !!!!!!!!!! 

I think I did tell you to read the Rouge et Noir and the Chartreuse de 
Parme for relaxation. If you haven't already done so. 

I believe I am to have another batch of Chinese mss. turned over to me. 

That's all the letter you can expect until you return one. 



io j : To Iris Barry 

London, 24 August 

Beautiful Evelyn Hope: By all means write your autobiography. I would 
suggest that you do it as a series of letters to me. Under seal. It will be 
much easier than trying to write it all at a sitting, and it will keep the style 
simple and prevent your getting literary or attempting to make phrases 
and paragraphs. 1 know when I tried to do a novel based more or less on 
experience I wrote myself into a state of exhaustion doing five chapters at 
one sitting, arose the next day, filled reams, and then stuck. You might 
very likely run the same danger. If you do it as letters, it may get done. It 
can perfectly well be published pseudonymously, if publishable, if long 
enough, good enough, etc. This will relieve the great grandchildren of the 

I believe my Russonymic would be Homerovitch. 

I dare say the translation of the Odyssey was good if it was readable, 
they mostly ain't. I don't however understand anyone's admiring Gilbert 
Murray. Is his Hippolytus any good ? 

You can send on the criticisms if you like. I should like to see them, if 
it's not too much bother to send them, or if they aren't interlocked with 
other matter not for my eyes. It will do me no harm to hear that 'the cat, 
etc. . . .' Dulac has just lent me dear old Brantome who is full of much 
worser scandals. 

I forget what Stevenson says about Villon. I read it twelve years ago 
and remember nothing but the 'Lodging for the Night,' not the Villon 
essay. In the ' Lodging' I suppose S. is merely making a story. People have 
tried to prove that V. was much more important a person in his day 
(socially, etc.) than is generally supposed. I don't know that there is much 
use trying to know such matters. I did a chapter on him in my Spirit of 
Romance which contains what I thought about him in 1910. But there are 
things much more worth your while reading. 

I'll try to place your story if you've nothing better to do with it. Send 
on the Chimera or a sample copy thereof. 

I have spent the day with Wang Wei, eighth century Jules Laforgue 

I will not say anything more about Stendhal, wait and see, or wait and 
guess. I am not absolutely cracked in the matter, though I am not sur- 
prised at your wondering: * what . . . etc' 

Salammbd is dull and tedious. I am not sure that anyone can read it 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

through, but it is necessary at least to get stuck in the attempt. Otherwise 
one doesn't know where one is with 'Herodias.' One receives no salutary 

Don't despair about Greek and Latin. There is no particular haste. I 
have this day written my first two sentences in Chinese, on a post card to 

If you must marry, do follow your excellent ancestress's precedent. 
Marry and govern the state. Don't marry three servants and a villa in 
Birmingham. It is not a short cut to leisure. 

Really one don't need to know a language. One needs, damn well 
needs, to know the few hundred words in the few really good poems that 
any language has in it. It is better to know the POIKILOTHRON by 
heart than to be able to read Thucydides without trouble (Fleet Street 
muck that he is. The first journalist ... at least the first we have thrust 
upon us.) 

Interruption for food — but will send this as it is. 

106: To Iris Barry 

London, (August) 

Dear Iris: I foresee that I shall have to read, or try to read the impossible 
Murray, a full set of whose translations were sent to the war library some 
months ago. 

I am reading Brantome and I doubt if even the opportunities afforded 
you in Birmingham will have produced anything capable of horrifying his 
readers. The fine old robustness. 

No, the Stendhal is not a personal application (/ recommended La 
Chartreuse at the same time and you cant imagine I saw you on the field of 
Waterloo, etc. etc.), you would have had it (Rouge et Noir) administered 
just the same were you cockney or duchess. I wish you to consider the 
relation of Stendhal, Flaubert, Maupassant (possibly Laforgue, but don't 
bother about Laforgue now). 

Certainly send on the plays, I am supposed to be meeting Knoblauch 
next week. I have very little of my own to thrust upon him. I hear he is the 
Gawd of the British theatre. Shall try him with Joyce, but if he is to be 
harnessed I may as well have any stray bits of twine handy. (I don't of 
course know that I can do anything, still if your stuff is any good at all I 
can probably get it looked at.) 

K 145 


Of course I meant the Chimera with you in it. 

Re the Murray. I am probably suspicious of Greek drama. People keep 
on assuring me that it is excellent despite the fact that too many people 
have praised it. Still there has been a lot of rhetoric spent on it. And I 
admit the opening of Prometheus (iEschylus') is impressive. (Then the 
play goes to pot.) Also I like the remarks about Xerxes making a mess of 
[illegible] in another .^schylean play, forget the name. Some choruses 
annoy me. Moralizing nonentities making remarks on the pleasures' of a 
chaste hymeneal relation, etc., etc. Statements to the effect that Prudence is 
always more discreet than rashness, and other such brilliant propositions. 

I think it would probably be easier to fake a play by Sophocles than a 
novel by Stendhal, apart from the versification. And even there one 
mustn't be too gullible. Aristophanes parodies some of the tragic verse 
very nicely, at least I believe so. I am too damd ignorant to talk intelli- 
gently about the Greek drama. Still I mistrust it, donaferentes, etc. 

There are fine lines in Phedre though it is perhaps a labour to read it, 
and extremely difficult to understand how it was popular, except on the 
supposition. . . . Oh, on a lot of damd suppositions. 

I don't know when Lustra will be done, I suppose in September. 

107: To Iris Barry 

London, 29 August 

Dear Iris: In the main the trouble with this lot is that there wasn't enough 
urge behind it. I tried in vers libre to make a medium where the 'bard' 
couldn't fake. Perhaps the game has come off. At least I don't think I can 
be fooled all the time. Most of the shorter verses aren't sufficiently distin- 
guished from the other little verse of the others who appear in Others. 

'Influence' has too many inactive words to give an effect of efficiency. 

'The Old House* has a germ, but a beastly Russian called Slobagob or 
Sologub has done a whole novel, or at least a 30,000 word story and more 
or less queered the pitch* 

'Warning' is a bit too Whitman. Don't throw it away, but wait till you 
get it better. Same with ' Old House.' — / — / 

I have made some very rough scratches on one ms. I don't mean that I 
have left a finished opusculus. It is only interrogation. 

Returning to amical correspondence. Yes, I care somewhat for music 
My first friend was a painter, male, now dead. 2nd a Pyanist, naturally 15 


19 1 6— aetat 30 

years plus age£ que moi. That was in 'The States/ 1 entered London more 
or less under her wing; I was even an impressario, I borrowed the Lyceo 
Benedetto Marcello in Venice for a press recitation, in the absence of Wolf- 
Ferrari, author of Das Nenes Leben and other operas, etc. Je connus the 
London mondo musicale, at least the concert-hall, recital part of it. Later I 
lived with Rummel several times for months at a stretch in Paris. He is a 
good but no longer very productive young composer, dated alas by 
Debussy. D. said that Rummel played his stuff better than he could. Both 
K(itty) R. H(eyman> and Rummel are some musicians. My present pin- 
nacle is sponged stalls at the Beecham opera. Malheureusement, I can't 
offer them to my friends; the grip isn't strong enough. W.R. is in Paris, 
K.R.H. back in the States. 

Remains one clavichord, Dolmetsch's own handiwork — Dulac making 
Arabian lutes. 

P.S. Have looked at a bad trans, of Sophocles. Certainly the whole 
CEdipus story is a darn silly lot of buncombe — used as a peg for some very 
magnificent phrases. Superbly used. 

I believe language has improved; that Latin is better than Greek and 
French than Latin for everything save certain melodic effects — and we 
don't know that the Greeks didn't ruin their stuff by rocking-horse read- 
ing. Though I can't believe they did. At any rate, early Greek can be read 
with wonderful music. 

108: To Iris Barry 

London, {September) 

Dear Iris: The portrait is there to make junior typists clasp 

their hands ecstatically. Or as Yeats says: ' That'll sell the book.' Perhaps 
you will find the enclosed more compendious. 

I think I told you of the effect of the Coburn photo 1 on my ex-landlady: 
'Oh the first that ever did you justice.' Then at the door-way, deprecat- 
ingly, 'Eh, I hope you won't be offended, sir, but, eh It-is-like-the-good- 
man-of-Nazareth, isn't-it, sir? ' 

I am glad that the effect on the junior typist is satisfactory. 

2. Re Burglars, I enclose the S{mart) S(et) slip. 2 

1 Frontispiece to limited edition of Lustra, Elkin Mathews, 1916. 
8 The Smart Set sent to contributors a slip listing impossible material, which 
included: '7. — Stories about burglars or other rogues'. 




I thought for the first few pages that you really had got a good thing. 

But it seems to me that the real play is to have them all go out, (Aggie is 
utterly unnecessary.) But the whole family should go out one by one 
through sheer boredom with * the home.' There is an effect to be got from 
that arrangement, a much longer play than you have made. 

In fact I think any play to be stageable must be 1 5 or 20 pages of type- 
script. At least Yeats made me lengthen a skit of mine before he would 
take it for the Abbey. (Later rejected by the manager on the grounds that 
its indecencies would cause a riot in Dublin.) 

But I think there is a real piece of literature to be made if you send the 
four of them out, father last, I should think, or perhaps daughter last; it 
don't matter which, only it will change the nature of the satire. Still either 
way could be fine. 

Old lady's bed would have to be visible or near door into sitting room, 
or dining room or whichever you call it. But she should have the finale all 
to herself. Mon escient. A clear stage to die in. 

One might even call it ' The Home.' 

109: To Iris Barry 

London^ 1 1 September 

Ch£re Iris: I believe in everyone's having their heart's desire at the earliest 
possible opportunity. If they are bad they die at once; they rot in a sort of 
explosion. If they are good it does them no harm. If they are unusual they 
'amazingly overcome it.' 

Still, you might have told me his name was Reginald. Why should you 
send me a poet named Reginald? If you had told me his name was Reginald 
I should have known it was 'all off' from the beginning. 

Reginald will be here in one hour and forty-five minutes. By that time 
your letter will be safely placed in a drawer. 

I should give the old lady a very short death. Either she can stagger to 
door, or bed can be visible and make-up can do the rest. Let jaw drop. 
Give her a line or two if necessary. Not a long drawn agony, a la cinema. 
Sic: Old Female: 'I am dying of boredom.' Obit. 

Re Lions: No, Yeats won't appreciate it. He will be vaguely conscious 
of 'another' male in the room, but will forget it. Only after five years of 
acquaintance does he learn to distinguish one member of the race from 


19 16— aetat 30 

another member. He has not my Chaucerian busy-ness and curiosity con- 
cerning minute variants in human personality. 

If I despatch this instanter, the charwoman can mail it. And you shall 
have another after Reginald has departed. 

110: To Iris Barry 

London, 22 September 

Dear Iris: On the whole, it is all rubbish your going to a farm. The soul is 
more than flesh, etc. You had much better come up to London. I am 
writing to my treasured and unique ex-landlady to see if she has a room . . . 
unless you have some better place to stay. I shall be back Wednesday. You 
can come to tea, and be took out to see someone or other some evening, 
and come in to meet someone else. God knows who is in London at the 
moment, and divers circles are non-extant from war. Still you can put in 
your spare time somehow. 

The cheapest clean restaurant with a real cook is Bellotti's, Ristorante 
Italiano (not Restaurant D'ltalie) 12 Old Compton St. I will send you 
Mrs. Langley's address if I find she has a room. 

Directions: for life in the capital. Not to use the competent and 
defensive air. (In really Lofty circles an amiable imbecility is the current 
form. . . . That you won't need in the monde d'art; a naive and placid re- 
ceptivity should suffice.) 

I believe being a bar maid would be no obstacle, but one would be 
obliged to conceal the fact. 

As for 'competent bearing and defence,' it is no use. People here 
haven't the time; and anyone would be perfectly willing to be friendly. 
Simply the capital is ' intime,' instantly 'intime,' scarcely ever familiar. 

One talks aesthetics, literature, scandal about others, political intrigue 
(war, for the present, though no stranger should introduce this last topic.) 

All this is very bald, but am in hurry. General instructions: 

Ask questions. Everyone likes to be asked questions. 


Ask questions showing knowledge of or sane interest in something of 
interest to interlocutor. 

All of which you know quite well already. Yours, Polonius. . 



in: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 27 September 

Dear Mencken: Have signed one copy Dreiser protest and sent it to 
Hersey with brief note on the ' Authors' League.' 

Have sent other copy to The Egoist to be printed as soon as possible, in 
the hope that it will reach more people than I have time to see or write to. 
Will print it with blank for signature. 

Still the country U.S.A. is hopeless and may as well go to hell its own 
way. Hell is a place completely paved with Billy Sunday and Ellis. 

Glad you are going to start a 'better' magazine. 'Better' is such a 
bloody ambiguous word. Seriously I think what is wrong is simply that 
neither England nor America have had an Eighteenth Century deist. I 
don't believe superficial work is any good. 

A society for the publication of selections of Voltaire, in five and ten 
cent editions, translated, of course, into English, plus a general campaign 
of education would be the best beginning. 

Christianity has become a sort of Prussianism, and will have to go. All 
the bloody moral attacks are based on superstition, religion, or whatever it 
is to be called. It has its uses and is disarming, but it is too dangerous. 
Religion is the root of all evil, or damn near all. 

Patient plodding 'reformers' got you into the scrape, and it will take 
patient, plodding, unfrivolous people like myself to free the country of the 

It's all very well your doing the light fantastic, but you (you H.L.M.) 
and a lot more of your friends will have to take art and freedom more 
seriously before you are done with the matter. 'Hell' in the person of 
Comstock's following, Sunday, and all the rest, will do you in, unless you 
get some heavy artillery. 

Perhaps the new magazine is intended to be a bit more 'weighty,' in 
which case you are on the right road. 

Am exceedingly worn out at the moment, so pardon lack of precision 
and of glittering phrase in this epistle. 


19 1 6— aetat 31 

112: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 14 November 

Dear Miss Weaver: I have just received the enclosed from Joyce, Of 
course I am ready to do an article or preface but I think I have written so 
much about him that it would be much more advantageous to have some 
other critic turned lpose. 

I suggest that you write to Edward Marsh (10 Downing St., S.W.). He 
will be flattered. His appreciation would reach a different and new circle of 
people. He is in a position to do much more for Joyce than I can. 

If he won't write a whole article, I suggest that you get a set of testi- 
monials, about a paragraph long. From H. G. Wells, me, Marsh, George 
Moore (if he will), Martin Seeker (??), anyone else you can. 

I can hardly add anything to what I said in Drama. It was about the 
strongest kind of statement one could make. You might quote from that 
article. I am not trying to get out of doing a job, but I think these things 
should be tried before the reader of the Egoist is required to hear any more 
4 Me on Joyce/ 

Is the book getting printed in New York? ? ? ? 

113: To Felix E. Schelling 

London, 17 November 

Dear Dr. Schelling: I keep on writing in Poetry, a distressful magazine 
which does however print the few good poems written in our day along 
with a great bundle of rubbish, ... the sentence is getting out of hand . . • I 
keep on writing on the subject of fellowships for creation as a substitute 
for, or an addition to, fellowships for research. 

Now that there can be no longer any suspicion of my wanting the thing 
for myself, I think it may be more use to write to you than to keep on 
addressing that many-eared monster with no sense, the reading public. 

It is true that H is a barbarian wanting to erect a pyramid to his 

progenitor and wholly indifferent to the curricula or intellectual status 

of the university, and S is a barbarous chemist interested in the 

Y.M.C.A. and a parvenu system of morals, 



But then no American University has ever tried to be a centre of 
thought. Pennsylvania would score if she were first to institute such a 
fellowship. A fellowship given for creative ability regardless of whether 
the man had any university degree whatsoever. The fellow would attend 
lectures when he liked and then only, he would have no examinations for 
the thought of them is poison in a man's ear, he can not hear through it. 
The lute sounds like a cash register, and a cadence is weighed down with a 

I have in mind a couple of youngish men whose work will stay imper- 
fect through lack of culture. Sandburg is a lumberjack who has taught 
himself all that he knows. He is on the way toward simplicity. His energy 
may for all one knows waste itself in an imperfect and imperfectable argot. 

Johns is another case. A year in a library, with a few suggestions as to 
reading and no worry about their rent might bring permanent good work 
out of either of these men. 

Masters is too old and instead of rewriting Spoon River he has gone off 
into gas. Still a year's calm would do even him some good. But his ex- 
penses are probably too heavy to make him a possible candidate. 

I admit such an irregular student might be a dam'd nuisance, but he 
might also be a stimulant. 

Colum has I believe an endowment, but there is no library attached. 

It might be a safeguard to make eligible only men who have not pre- 
viously studied in the university. 

The Wanderjahr was an excellent institution. 

I don't know whether you will have time to consider this. It is perhaps 
more in Weygandt's province ? ? ? 

Dr. Child is an ideal companion for the young barbarian but hardly, I 
think, the politician to get the thing done. Weygandt's interest in contem- 
porary literature has however always appeared typical of himself and 
America. That is to say he wrote to me for free copies of my books, just 
after he had come into a comfortable inheritance and at a time when I was 
working my own way on the edge of starvation. But there is no reason 
why he should suspect that the thought of this fellowship comes from me. 
I should have had to buy his free copies and it would have cost me a 

It is dull repetition to say that every other art has its endowed fellow- 
ships. Poetry, which needs more than any other art the balance of study, is 
without them. I say the balance of study because a sculptor or painter 
with instinct can see a masterpiece almost instantly and a book takes time 
to read. Music is difficult to decide on. 

Oh well, I grow lengthy. Amities. 


1916— aetat 31 

P.S. The English department might even apply its present fellowships 
in this way now and again. 

Rennert's last letter to me five years ago implied that the 'advancement 
of learning* clause had come to be interpreted 'continue a professor', but 
there was the university ('s) personal loathing (of) me behind that 



114: To Kate Buss 

London^ 4 January 

Dear Miss Buss: Thanks for sending me the copy of your review. 

The only error seems to be in supposing that ' Albatre' was in any way 
influenced by Chinese stuff which I did not see until a year or two later. 
The error is natural as Cathay appeared before Lustra, but the separate 
poems in Lustra had mostly been written before the Chinese translations 
were begun and had mostly been printed in periodicals either here or in 
America. I think you will find all the verbal constructions of Cathay 
already tried in ' Provincia Deserta.' 

The subject is Chinese, the language of the translations is mine — I 
think. At least if you compare the 'Song of the Bowmen* with the 
English version of the same poem in Jennings' 'Shi King' Part II, 1-7 
(p. 180) called 'Song of the Troops', or the 'Beautiful Toilet' with the 
same poem in Giles' Chinese Literature, you will be able to gauge the 
amount of effect the celestial Chinese has on the osseous head of an im- 
becile or a philologist. 

Omakitsu is the real modern — even Parisian— of VIII cent. China 

115: To JohnQuinn 

London^ 10 January 

Dear John Quinn: The Dec. number of Seven Arts has just arrived. I 
don't know whether I owe it to you or to the editor. 

I have just sealed up Fenollosa's 'Essay on the Chinese Written Char- 
acter,' to send to them. It is one of the most important essays of our time. 
But they will probably reject it on the ground of its being exotic. 

Fenollosa saw and anticipated a good deal of what has happened in art 
(painting and poetry) during the last ten years, and his essay is basic for all 
aesthetics, but I doubt if that will cut much ice. 


1917— aetat 31 

Seven Arts looks to me as if it were riding for a fall. A fall between two 
stools or two haystacks, or whatever it is things fall between. 

All this desire for a compromise. Great Art is never popular to start 
with. They (Seven Arts) want to be popular and good all at once ?????!!!!! 

The stuff they complain of is precisely the stuff (American or otherwise) 
that tries to please the 'better* public. 

Their facts are flimsy. The 'cultured' man doesn't much read Jean 
Christophe (he can't), nor yet Wells. He does read Henry James, but he 
reads him with rigorous selection. 

Nothing but ignorance can refer to the 'troubadours' as having pro- 
duced popular art. If ever an art was made for a few highly cultivated 
people it was the troubadour poetry of Provence. 

The Greek populace was paid to attend the great Greek tragedies, and 
it damn well wouldn't have gone otherwise, or if there had been a cinema. 

Shakespeare was 'Lord Somebody's players,' and the Elizabethan 
drama, as distinct from the long defunct religious plays, was a court affair. 

Greek art is about as fine an example of uninterrupted decadence as 
one could want, and its decay keeps pace with the advance of popular 

Seven Arts don't seem to me much better than The Egoist, though you 
needn't say so publicly, as I want the Fenollosa essay published. (Natur- 
ally, I could use it in The Egoist, but I want to be paid for it. It's damn well 
worth it.) China is fundamental, Japan is not. Japan is a special interest, 
like Provence, or 12- 13th Century Italy (apart from Dante). I don't mean 
to say there aren't interesting things in Fenollosa's Japanese stuff (or fine 
things, like the end of Kagekiyo, which is, I think, 'Homeric'). But China 
is solid. One can't go back of the 'Exile's Letter,' or the 'Song of the 
Bowmen,' or the ' North Gate.' 

Yeats is still hustling about the Lane picture bequest. 

116: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 22 January 

Dear Miss Weaver: The limerick Joyce asked me to use was my limerick 
on him, a very poor bit of doggerel, rhyming Joyce with 'purse' (the 
latter pronounced 'poice' in the manner of the N.Y. Bowery). I don't 
think his request was serious, if it was so, it (was) merely a bit of amia- 
bility on his part. At any rate the limerick won't fit in a serious manifesto. 



His limerick on me shows that an amiable feeling exists between author 
and reviewer, and that also would weaken the force of my note. 

I don't think you are right about The Nation and Athenaeum, for the 
following reasons : 

i. The reviewing on The Nation has more and more fallen into the con- 
trol of a gang of Irish, presumably S 's gang, and he has already 

attacked Joyce's prose, rather sneeringly, and will go on doing so, 
presumably (jealousy). 

The anonymous reviewer is usually cowardly, also I have before now 
procured civility by direct attack. Again a direct attack may make the head 
of a paper look up the reviews which cause it, and smack the reviewer into 
order. If Wells reviews the book, the two latter effects will be intensified. 

2. The Athenaeum is anything but ' well-established.' It is so groggy that 
it 'reorganizes* about every five months. It is being held up by a silly 
' pigeon' back from Egypt after forty years in the desert. It has appealed for 
funds to its contributors, and talked about democratic control of its 
opinion. Any kick at it may help toward its extinction, which is devoutly 
to be hoped for. 

3. 1 certainly don't want to include the virtuous by such a phrase as 
'well-established' journals. 

If, however, you don't want to name names, I could consent to 
' attacks from a few sheltered, and therefore courageous, anonymities ' 

It is well to forestall attack, and the nasty Catholics like the 

M and T stye are bound to attack because Joyce so allmightily 

wipes the floor with the 'Whore of Babylon' in that chapter on the 
long sermon.- — / — / 

117: To John Quinn 

London, The Evening of the 24th day January 

Dear John Quinn: I am glad you really enjoyed Lustra and aren't going 
on with it merely out of esprit de corps. 

I have always wanted to write 'poetry' that a grown man could read 
without groans of ennui, or without having to have it cooed into his ear by 
a flapper. 

Re your troubles with S., I send my commiserations and am almost 
moved to offer myself as a substitute. Ignorant as Ham but capable of con- 
secutive work and of putting together an argument. 

Besides, one might live in America if one had a reputable job and were 


1 9 17— aetat 31 

not that lowest of God's creatures: a man with an ambition to write well 
trying to live by his pen in the Eunited States. 

And one would be free from editors. If I ever do come to America I 
would rather do something of the sort than lead the dog's life of a Tagore- 
as-at-present, or Noyes-teaing-at-Princeton, let alone the humbler roles in 
the business. 

Re Washington Square imitation Quartier Latin, a chap named Bruno 
occasionally sends me a 'weekly* when he isn't grouched by my lack of 
admiration for it. I judge that is the superior- top-kurrust of the crowd you 
mean, and can get a perspective. 

I am glad you liked my progenitors. They certainly had a good time 
seeing you and the collection. You can be quite sure Dad will descend 
upon you whenever he gets to New York again. 

Yes, I got your Casement article, two copies. I didn't think your argu- 
ment quite held together in some places, or that you on the bench would 
have given verdict to a barrister who had made it. 

I intended to make a detailed analysis of it, and then was interrupted. I 
think by getting a rush order to translate a libretto at once (very lucky for 
me that I did get an order to do something). Beecham is a good fellow and 
paid in guineas, not pounds as proposed. Also he is intelligent, apart from 
being the only man in England who can conduct an orchestra. 

People usually misinterpret him. In my long talk with him I discovered 
the cause, i.e. I caught him thinking. By gawd, a musician thinking, 
straight off his own bat. 

At any rate, the Casement matter was all over by the time I got back to 
your article. Then came proofs of Noh, and then work on a new long poem 
(really long, endless, leviathanic). 

No, Joyce hasn't a pension. He had a grant of £100 from the last 
government. One lump sum, not a hardy annual. I don't know whether 
the present regime will be as generous. However, his books are now out, 
and a start is made. 

I think justice will be done to MacNeill as soon as the war is over, if not 
before. Certainly as soon as people have time and can think calmly once 
more. I am glad Spring-Rice is with you in this. 

Don't worry over This Generation, and for God's sake, don't spend 
money on it. 

If there is any spending it would be much more fun to spend it on illus- 
trations (even in colour) for the book on Lewis. 

I don't believe there's much 'oil' of lucre in Pisistratan sculpture, but 
the blighted Greeks did a few things before Phidias, and it would be 
amusing to point out Greek art as one continuous decadence. The Mosco- 



phoros (alias, 'The chap with the calf) is, I think, a good job (possibly 
better than Yakob). 

My wife, trying to find a formula of words, said, 'No . . . ah . . . no, 
Dulac isn't an artist.' 

I: 'What?' 

She: * No, he's something else, he is different' (that means different from 
Lewis, me, Gaudier, Eliot, etc.). 'He is a . . . dilettante.' 

Which is probably the answer. He is a nice chap to dine with and pro- 
bably better at conversation or anything else than at art. 

Don't worry about Lewis not understanding mild delay. Everything 
turned out all right. 

The vortescope isn't a cinema. It is an attachment to enable a photo- 
grapher to do sham Picassos. That sarcastic definition probably covers the 
ground. A chap named Mountsier has seen the stuff and is doing an article 
on it, also on Lewis and me and Coburn. He is going to N.Y. — on the Sun, 
I think. 

The show of Coburn's results comes off here in Feb. He and I are to 
jaw about abstraction in photography and in art, and old G.B.S. has pro- 
mised to come out and perhaps chip into the jawing. The vortographs are 
perhaps as interesting as Wadsworth's woodcuts, perhaps not quite as 

At any rate, it will serve to upset the muckers who are already crowing 
about the death of vorticism. 

It, the vortescope, will manage any arrangement of purely abstract 
forms. The present machine happens to be rectilinear, but I can make one 
that will do any sort of curve, quite easily. 

It ought to save a lot of waste experiment on plane compositions, such 
as Lewis' 'Plan of War,' or the Wadsworth woodcuts. Certainly it is as 
good as the bad imitators — Atkinson, and possibly some Picabia — and 
might serve to finish them off, leaving Lewis and Picasso more clearly 

Thanks again for fixing up things with Knopf. 

Will say nothing about periodical until I get your next letter, save that 
it is very good of you to go on being interested after all my varied and 
divergent propositions. 

Am glad the vorticist exhibit is really open. But this letter is already 
long enough, so I won't expatiate. Regards to Yeats Sr. and remembrances 
to Brodzky, and thanks again to you. 


1917— aetat 31 
118: To Iris Barry 

London, 25 January 

Dear Iris: Good. Only you omit the most important detail, namely price 
of said room with bawth. Within reach of Whitehall plus bath spells 
Chelsea, the riverboard of Chelsea rich with memories of. . . . 

I find a bath can be dispensed with provided one have a geyser that will 
make the liquid for dumpable detached bath really hot. Whereas the damp 
coolish hot bath of a boarding house is disgusting. 

A few weeks ago I found a studio with bath, for I think £40 per year, 
but naturally unfurnished, and probably you would have to take it for 
three years, and probably it is already gobbled. 

Wisdom consists in getting a room cheap and having spare cash to em- 
bellish it, add gas conveniences, etc., which are paid once and for all and 
not a constant drain. 

Alas, I was in Chelsea but yesterday. Had you written 24 hours earlier I 
might have enquired. 

I had better get you a furnished room at 8 (eight) shillings a week, in the 
centre of the part of Chelsea where you will probably find what you really 
want (very possibly unfurnished). 

Let me know exact or probable date of your arrival as soon as you 
know it. 

Chelsea is a bit nearer Whitehall than I am here, and it (Chelsea) is not 
too disgustingly far from here. You might be provided with some amiable 
neighbors there, if discretion be exercised. 

Now for the moving letter. 

You do not poetize because you are suffering from your first attack of 
* style' or 'rush of critical sense to the heart/ At 18 1 always thought each 
poem the last. 

What is your attitude toward Mr. Pound? 'All things are possible to 

Tagore got the Nobel Prize because, after the cleverest boom of our 
day, after the fiat of the omnipotent literati of distinction, he lapsed into 
religion and optimism and was boomed by the pious non-conformists. 
Also because it got the Swedish Academy out of the difficulty of deciding 
between European writers whose claims appeared to conflict. Sic. Hardy 
or Henry James? 

Tagore obviously was unique in the known modern Orient. And then, 
the right people suggested him. And Sweeden is Sweeden. It was also a 



damn good smack for the British Academic Committee, who had turned 
down Tagore (on account of his biscuit complexion) and who elected in 
his stead to their august corpse, Alice Meynell and Dean Inge. 

Therefore his Nobel Prize gave pleasure unto the elect. 

Massenet was finished God knows when. I know that I was 
paid, guineas not pounds as proposed, on Jan ist and that I am for 
the moment solvent. Laus Deo. I think that answers the list of 

119: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 30 January 

Dear Miss Weaver: I will write to Archer and Brock, not later than 
tomorrow. You can then send the books to The Times (not to Brock); but 
to Archer direct, s.v.p. 

Do warn Wells that there is an Irish vendetta in the senile Nation, and 
tell him there is no reason why Joyce should be dragged into it. Joyce has 
never laid eyes on me and has nothing to do with my personal feuds. 

I will speak to Granville, probably today. Does he send you an ex- 
change copy? It may have slipped his mind. 

Following emendations in article. Please see that revises are correct. 

p. 2. Egoist turns publisher and produced A Portrait . . . 

p. 9. Violent attacks from several sheltered and therefore courageous 
anonymities. When you tell . . . 

p. io. Now, despite the jobbing of bigots and their sectarian publishing 
houses, and despite the Fly-Fishers . . . 

I am afraid Eliot has split with The Westminster, and De Bossch^re also. 
However, I will see. 

1 20: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (? January) 

Dear M.C.A.: The Little Review is perhaps temperamentally closer to 
what I want done ? ? ? ? ? ? 

Definitely then: 

I want an 'official organ' (vile phrase). I mean I want a place where I 


1 9 17— aetat 31 

and T. S. Eliot can appear once a month (or once an 'issue') and where 
Joyce can appear when he likes, and where Wyndham Lewis can appear if 
he comes back from the war. 

Definitely a place for our regular appearance and where our friends 
and readers (what few of 'em there are), can look with assurance of finding 

I don't know quite how much your pages carry. I don't want to swamp 

I must have a steady place for my best stuff (apart from original poetry, 
which must go to Poetry unless my guarantor is to double his offer. Even 
so I oughtn't to desert Poetry merely because of convenience. 

(I have only three quarrels with them: Their idiotic fuss over christian- 
izing all poems they print, their concessions to local pudibundery, and that 
infamous remark of Whitman's about poets needing an audience.) 

As to policy, I don't think I am particularly propagandist. I have issued 
a few statements of fact, labelled two schools and there has been a lot of 
jaw about 'em. But an examination of files will show that I have done very 
little preachy writing. 

A monthly should keep some tab on the few interesting books that DO 
appear in London and Paris. 

I should count on Eliot a good deal for such current criticism and appre- 
ciation. He is in touch with various papers here and sees what is going on. 

I don't know how much Joyce would send in. He is working on another 

Lewis is not to be counted on, now; by the grace of God he may come 
back in due season. 

The young stuff here that hasn't a home would be an occasional poem 
from Rodker or Iris Barry and the unknown. 

The rest are clustered to The Egoist. I got Aldington that job several 
years ago. He hasn't done quite as well as I expected, but he was very 
young. H.D. is all right, but shouldn't write criticism. The Lawrence- 
Lowell-Flint-Cournos contingent give me no active pleasure. Fletcher is 
all right now and again, but too diffuse in the intervals. 

You advertise 'new Hellenism.' It's all right if you mean humanism, 
Pico's De Dignitate, the Odyssey ', the Moscophoros. Not so good if you 
mean Alexandria, and worse if you mean the Munich-sham-Greek 
'Hellas' with a good swabian brogue. 

Confucianism is not propagandist, and polytheism would only be mis- 
understood, so I shan't offer any or much competition on these lines. 
(Perhaps an essay on Confucius? On approval.) 

This is to be printed straight off. (Bar of course libel, and the usual 
L 161 


thing, or the printers' refusing absolutely to set it up, because of its 

If there happens to be more copy the excess would be submitted to you 
as any other contribution. No hard feelings if you chuck it. 

I think we might criticize each other's selections in confidence with 
some freedom and directness???? 

(As you like ... it is sometimes amusing ... I don't insist . . .) 

121 : To Alice Corbin Henderson 

London, March 

Dear A.C.H.: The only thing I can see for strengthening the 

prose section of Poetry is a series of essays on French poets unknown to 
The Atlantic Monthly and the Great Generation of Pimps, beginning with 
Gilder and ending with the friends of H. W. Mabie. 

Amy has not exhausted the subject. Poetry could quite well do with 
essays on Laforgue, Corbtere, Tailhade, possibly Rimbaud, Jammes, pos- 
sibly Elskamp, possibly a reminder of Mallarm6, Samain, H£redia. I would 
suggest that a series of this sort by me, Eliot, and De Bosschire would at 
least keep out a certain amount of slop from the prose section. 

I believe you get the Egoist. De B. has had an enormous essay on me 
running through three numbers, Jan., Feb., and March still to come. 

He has also what he calls a ' Portrait' of me. 

Even tho H. has not yet printed his poems, I shall suggest his sending 
this along. If she don't use me in April, she might make a number of my 
long poem, his poem or poems, and this 'portrait.' It and the essay in The 
Egoist make the first part of a book on contemporary English poets which 
he will publish in France after the war. The Egoist essay might be noted in 
Poetry 9 s notes by way of annoying the profane. It quotes Sandburg and is 
altogether the most lengthy treatment I have yet had from any critic. . . • 
Not that it is to be accepted as gospel, but lest the forces of darkness crow 
and cackle too loudly. 

I can't stir up De B. and Eliot to do the French essays until I know that 
they are wanted and that they will appear one a month in a regular series. 

They'd make a good solid series, and also be a change. About 

1500 words each, and £3 as REmuneration. 

The series ought to be announced. It should help sales if announced, 
otherwise it won't, as sales proceed from expectation. 


1 9 17— aetat 31 
My prose now lying in the office ought to be cleared up also. Lump it all 
into two lots, one on Davies and the other as * Notes by E.P.' That'll clear 
the deck, get one ready to do something 'in reply to the noble effort of the 
60 guarantors/ One ought to make a bit of a spurt in reply to 'em. 

122: To John Quinn 

London, iS April 

Dear Quinn: The New Republic has come. The title 'Green Sickness' and 
the paragraph on 'mortal sin' seem to me the two back-handers in the 
thing. Perhaps in less degree the phrasing, 'never even thought of plot or 
importance of consulting the reader.' 

This latter paragraph and the one on Wells give Hackett away and 
should not harm Joyce. 

The title is a dig. Some of the other things you have marked don't seem 
to me vicious. His saying that the novel is 'unpleasant' is balanced by the 
next paragraph which says it has beauty and intensity (which is more than 
most reviewers would do, especially if they were disappointed novelists 
instead of being disappointees in other walks of litterchure). 

I don't much like the opening sentence. However, the tribe of Gosse all 
think the public has to be apologized to for the existence of genius in any 

I hope you aren't going to be offended by my remarks on artists and 
patrons in the editorial I sent direct to Miss Anderson. I was wroth with 
the editorial in Poetry on the same topic. H. Monroe seems to think that if 
her Chicago widows and spinsters will only shell out she can turn her gang 
of free-versers into geniuses all of a onceness. Hence my remarks on the 
inability of patrons to create artists. I may have phrased it a bit crudely. 
But I think what I said is so, and that if the words are examined closely the 
meaning holds good. 

I am rereading your article on Joyce. Do send copies to official circles. 
Possibly to the English ambassador in Washington. It ought to do more 
good than anything else I have seen on Joyce. Good also to me, The 
Egoist, Picasso, etc. 

Re what you say of the book's being most intelligible to Irish Catholics, 
did I write you that a female married to a Belgian said the whole thing was 
just as true of Belgium as of Ireland (with, of course, necessary substitu- 
tions in the matter of Parnell, etc.) ? 

I am neither Irish nor Catholic, but I have had more mediaeval contact 



than most, through Dante and my Provengal. I have read a nth Century 
Provenjal sermon about hell — same model as the one in The Portrait, 
same old hoax. 

I don't put myself up as a sample of how the book will strike most 
people. But I do think Joyce has done his job so well and so thoroughly 
that he conveys the milieu of the book, and that an Irish Catholic with local 
knowlege has very little advantage over the outsider with good grounding 
in literature when it comes to understanding The Portrait. 

(That sentence is written nearly as badly as some of Hackett's.) 

This may not be so. My uncle-in-law couldn't understand parts of the 
conversation, or at least found them difficult. And he is extremely well 
read. It may be my having read Dante and a few paragraphs of Richard St. 
Victor, and Guido Cavalcanti, that makes me so much readier to take in 
the novel than some other people seem to be. 

I wonder if he has read Balzac many times. I read about a dozen books 
of Balzac's ten years ago, but I can't read him now. 

I also wonder if he has read Flaubert and the de Goncourts, or if his 
hardness isn't a direct development from the love of hardness bred by 
reading Dante, or possibly in his case, Aquinas. (I have not read Aquinas, 
but I have looked through a good book of scholastic logic, by something- 

His hardness is more like La Jille Elisa than anything of Balzac's, I 

I enclose bibliography. I have put in the dates of a few critical articles — 
'pure matter of literary history.' I have taken damn small part in the cur- 
rent muck concerning vers libre. I don't think an unessential matter of that 
sort would have been raised to the pitch of a Martin Luther- John Calvin 
church-schism but for the crass ignorance of magazine editors, critics and 
publishers at the time I began writing. Ignorant opposition caused a stop- 
page, and now follows an inundation. I think the simple table of dates may 
tell the story in a quiet way, if anyone wants to hear it. It is better than 
writing diatribes against the unstable. 

Later. I have compiled the bibliography. It is in a beastly mess, but let 
Knopf straighten it out or retype it. 

I enclose another note from Joyce which has just come. I didn't tell him 
the magazine was settled but only that there was good hope, and asked him 
to send me a note on chance. Please have Miss Anderson print either his 
brief note, or a notice saying he has written to say that he will collaborate 
at the earliest opportunity. 

I think with Yeats' poems, Lewis, Joyce, Eliot, and the chance of a few 
*young/ the Little Review is worth going on with. 


1917 — aetat 31 

I have added J.B.Y.'s letters to the bibliography. May as well note it, 
though my introduction is only a page. Still it may sell a few copies for 

Perhaps you'll be good enough to forward Joyce's question about his 
eyes to Gould, with the odier data I sent you. That is, if Gould is still 
alive. Vide the end of Joyce's long letter enclosed. 

More later. 

123: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 24 April 

Dear H.M.: At last a letter from you. I am sorry you have been laid up, 
glad you are through with it. Glad to hear A.C.H. is better and also that 
something was done for her last autumn. 

As to poem, 1 string it out into three numbers if that's the best you can 
do. Price named for magazine rights is satisfactory. Only for gawd's sake 
send it along as soon as possible. 

Let us hope you may get over your dislike of the poem by the time the 
last of it is printed, you disliked 'Contemporania' and even the first of 
Frost himself, and you loathed and detested Eliot. ' Contemporania' didn't 
exactly wreck the magazine. You have even put some of them into the 

It is disgusting of Mathews not to have sent you Lustra, but it may have 
been sunk. 

You can't expect me to keep in touch with the magazine unless you 
write more often than once in six months. Since Alice went to New 
Mexico I have been wholly, or almost wholly cut off. 

124: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (ca. May) 
Ch£re M.: All right ! 

Only don't go wrong about Quinn. Quinn made me mad the first 
time I saw him (1910). I came back on him four years later, and since then 
I have spent a good deal of his money. His name does not spell Tight- 
wad. The £1 50 is my figure, not his. 

1 * Three Cantos', published June, July, and August 1917. 


I am not looking for a soft job, at least not in that way. Quinn is not a 
rich man in the American sense of the word. He has what he makes month 
by month, and most of it goes to the arts. I know part of what he does, and 
I know somewhat of how he does it. . . . Quinn wanted me to take £ 120 
a year for myself in connection with The Egoist a year or so ago. 

The point is that if 1 accept more than I need I at once become a 
sponger, and I at once lose my integrity. By doing the job for the absolute 
minimum I remain respectable and when I see something I want I can ask 
for it. I mean to say, as things stand I can ask for money when Joyce 
finishes his next novel or if HuefFer ever gets his raz/book finished. 

If I began by blowing 1 500 dollars and did no more than I shall now do 
with 750 1 should feel a mucker and there would be nothing ahead. 

My whole position and the whole backing up of my statement that the 
artist is 'almost* independent goes with doing the thing as nearly as pos- 
sible without 'money.' 

I think also Quinn may know more than you think. He works very hard 
and I think rather excitedly and his talk after hours may not have the pre- 
cision a sentence would have if a man had nothing to do but write art 
criticism and if he took a day to a paragraph. 

At any rate, take a bit more time before you finally make up your mind. 
I wish there were one or two more like him. 

I don't know whether his talk about art is like all American talk about 
art, but his act is a damn sight different. 

Don't insist on his toning down his enthusiasms to a given foot rule. 

Old Yeats (J.B.) describes Q. as 'the kindest, most generous, most 
irascible' of men. I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn't 

Quinn says a number of nice things about both of you, and admires 
your courage and nerve and energy. This is not a grouch but a prayer. . . . 
I don't believe anybody else will do half or a tenth as much for us, or give 
us so many chances to make good after a slip. 

The other thing is not to let J<ane) H(eap> cheek Quinn too much. I 
think he likes you both. But still I think it would be better if you saw him, 
than that she should. If they meet, whatever she may think of his artistic 
judgment, do let her remember that some of the best living artists think a 
great deal of it. Not merely because he buys their stuff. 


I 9 I 7— aetat 31 
125: To Edgar Jepson 

London, 29 May 

Dear Jepson: The damblasted trouble is that it is a magazine story; that it 

does not in every line on the magazine-reader, on the world 

that makes Harrison and The English Review possible. 

If I am to make anything of a 32 page minute rag of a paper that looks 
like nothing at all, I cannot possibly compete with larger magazines on 
their own ground, — I have got to use stuff and I think exclusively stuff 
that in no way suggests the contents or existence of any other magazine; 
stuff that couldn't possibly appear, that couldn't think of appearing else- 

My corner of the paper is BLAST, but BLAST coveted with ice, with 
a literary and reserved camouflage (I mean, that's what I want: a classic 
and impeccable exterior: enunciated with an exquisite polite- 
ness. BLAST in which the exuberance has given place to external deco- 
rum of phrase). 

Seccombe, Nicoll, The Authors' Club, all the inhabited by 

these animals and their American shadows, impeccably shattered, anni- 

I should undoubtedly poison the lot were we not educated or devis- 
cerated beyond that order of procedure. I stumble through a great number 
of words in trying to say, 'your story is not satiric, but human and tragic' 
and that satire is such a cool and quiet word that it don't in the least ex- 
press the quality of bitterness that I want, the peculiar kind of contempt 
for contemporary mentality, for the reading public, for the way the 'world 

Possibly a hyper-aesthesia, but I find no other word but ' '; 

the sensation of being thrust head downward up to chin into the mire of an 
open priwy which comes upon me at the mention of the house of Murray, 
the Bookman, Seccombe, Chesterton, the whole order of these things. 

New Statesman conveys a dryer, a more dusty feeling. 

Certain people have felt this sort of thing about * life,' I feel it about con- 
temporary Mitterchure,' gensdelettres, etc. 

Poetry gets out of reach of the stench, andjsatire is a quick-lime, or 
ammonia which cuts through it. 

If I am to do anything with my half magazinette I have got to concen- 
trate; at least for a while, I can use nothing which is not definitely an insult 
to the public-library, the general-reader, the weekly press. 



On the practical side I have enough cash to pay myself, Eliot and Lewis 
an extremely small monthly screw. I have so little beyond that, that it is 
ludicrous to say how little. The first six months of it are gone already. 

I think I could get you more for your story from Mencken, and get it 
quicker. At least I should suggest trying that if you permit or approve. 

After I have definitely established the tone (how the hell does one escape 
that cliche), the chemical pungency of the L.R. y I may be able to think 
about general contributions. 

Damn it all I want the author talking to the one most intelligent person 
he knows, and not accepting any current form, form of story, form of 
anything. Hang it all, how the hell does one say what Fm trying to get at. 

I want it all 'untanned alligator skin,' and no 'make love's and 'dear 

'Women's dresses, music, champagne' ne me disent rien. 

126: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (? June) 

Dear editor: The one use of a man's knowing the classics is to prevent 
him from imitating the false classics. 

You read Catullus to prevent yourself from being poisoned by the lies 
of pundits; you read Propertius to purge yourself of the greasy sediments 
of lecture courses on 'American Literature,' on 'English Literature from 
Dryden to Addison,' you (in extreme cases) read Arnaut Daniel so as not 
to be over-awed by a local editor who faces you with a condemnation in 
the phrase ' paucity of rhyme.' 

The classics, 'ancient and modern,' are precisely the acids to gnaw 
through the thongs and bulls-hides with which we are tied by our school- 

They are the antiseptics. They are almost the only antiseptics against 
the contagious imbecility of mankind. 

I can conceive an intelligence strong enough to exist without them, but 
I can not recall having met an incarnation of such intelligence. Some does 
better and some does worse. 

The strength of Picasso is largely in his having chewed through and 
chewed up a great mass of classicism; which, for example, the lesser 
cubists, and the flabby cubists have not. 


19 17— aetat 32 

127: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London , (? August) 

Dear M.C.A.: Bodenheim has been on the grump ever since I was forced 
to tell him that I could not perceive much originality in his work. Neither 
is there. He was commendable in the first place because he was trying to 
take more care of his actual wording than either Masters or Sandburg. In 
verse having no very marked or seductive cadence, no rhyme, no qualita- 
tive measure, the actual language must be fairly near to perfection. 

Also . . . Bodenheim distorts my words. 1 said nothing against these 
poets save that they hadn't opened up anything new during the past 
three years. Which, damn it, they haven't. I set my period at three years 
(definitely and deliberately). Thus H.D.'s early work, Aldington's, and 
Williams' * Postlude' do not come up for comparison. 

I don't think any of these people have gone on; have invented much 
since the first Des Imagistes anthology. H.D. has done work as good. She 
has also (under I suppose the flow-contamination of Amy and Fletcher) 
let loose dilutations and repetitions, so that she has spoiled the 'few but 
perfect' position which she might have held on to. 

Anyhow Eliot has thought of things I had not thought of, and I'm 
damned if many of the others have done so. Inventive, creative, or what 

And The Dial, Oh gosh, slosh, tosh, the dial, d,i,a,l, dial. Dial — the 
stationary part of a clock or other chronometer. And the New Republic, 
desiccated, stodgied copy of the desiccated New Statesman. Why 'new,' 
why this passion for 'newness' always confined to the title? Put there pre- 
sumably to keep it out of the way. Not that one desires newness so awfully 
awfully, goodness would suffice. 

128: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 12 August 

Dear Mencken: I sent a letter to Hatteras 1 last week, in your care, asking 
if he had any stuff too wild for the S.S. I have been a bit slow getting the 
Little Review off the mark, but perhaps not so slow as would at first sight 

1 A pseudonym of Mencken. 



appear, as stuff has to leave here so infernally long before it gets into print 

Apart from Yeats, I have a play by Lady Gregory, and one from 
Symons (not so valuable). Joyce has been in hospital ever since we started 
so he has been no use. But I have now got Hueffer's best ms. for 191 8, and 
a topping story from Lewis for Dec. 

I wonder if you have any stuff of your own too unComstockian for 
your own readers. And what about Wright? 

I hope old Hatteras has impractical moments. 

I suppose an exchange of ads at this stage of the game would be a pure 
present on your part. Still a statement that ' the 5.5. is the only magazine, 
American or otherwise, that ever lost 50,000 subscribers in attempting to 
give America better literature than she wanted* might fetch a few of our 
rare readers (who on the other hand probably read you (tacitly and un- 
admittedly in the midst of Browning societies) already). 

I suppose Benefield is written out, or that anything he does would fit 
you perfectly well ? 

Hope you enjoyed Eliot in our July number. That unitarian upbringing 
has not been wasted. 

(How many of your polysyllabic authors write under their own 
names???? There can't be so many patristocratic cognomens in Man- 

At any rate, if there is impractical stuff, I want it. 

129: To John Quinn 

London, 21 August 

Nothing to answer. 

Dear John Quinn: 1. Dispatched Lewis' Tarr to Knopf yesterday, ms. 
complete, at last. Heubsch has written to Egoist for it, but you said 
Knopf was to have first shot. However, it is just as well that there are two 
possible publishers in the field. 

2. 1 forwarded your cable re Exiles to Joyce, as I couldn't make much of 
it. I haven't any copy of Exiles, and Pinker writes me that Joyce has told 
him to do something or other with his copy, and Yeats is in France so I 
can't get at the copy he either may or may not have (probably in Ireland). 
Ergo, I have referred the matter to Joyce himself. 

3. 1 am worried by your cable received this A.M. re the two lines on 
Chesterton. Do what you like about them. Only they are part of my 
position, i.e., that one should name names in satire. And Chesterton is like 


19 17— aetat 31 

a vile scum on the pond. The multitude of his mumblings cannot be killed 
by multitude but only by a sharp thrust (even that won't do it, but it 
purges one's soul). 

All his slop — it is really modern Catholicism to a great extent, the never 
taking a hedge straight, the mumbo-jumbo of superstition dodging behind 
clumsy fun and paradox. 

If it were a question of cruelty to a weak man I shouldn't, of course, 
have printed it. But Chesterton is so much the mob, so much the multitude. 
It is not as if he weren't a symbol for all the mob's hatred of all art that 
aspires above mediocrity. 

I feel very differently about Belloc, who once wanted to do the real 
thing, and for a long time, at least, had moments of bitterness (I think) 
that he had taken the journalistic turning. Still, he has left ' AvriP and his 
translation of Bedier's Tristan, 

Chesterton has always taken the stand that the real thing isn't worth 
doing. (Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration???? Complex of my own 
vanity??) My feeling is, perhaps, heightened by a feeling that I should 
probably like G.K.C. personally if I ever met him. Still, I believe he 
creates a milieu in which art is impossible. He and his kind. 

However, I don't want to be hysterical over two lines. If you want 
them out or if Knopf thinks it will cost him too much to retain them, do 
what you think best. It is not so important that it should appear in 
America as here. (It has appeared in BLAST anyhow.) 

Still, someone had to be the first to say that Hall Caine wasn't Christ 
returned, and Marie Corelli wasn't Flaubert, etc. 

On the other hand, the lines are contemptuous, and contempt may not 
be a very formidable weapon. Leave the lines in the limited edition, any- 
how, and do what you like with the other. 

Lewis is out of hospital and back in the thick of it. Last note said he had 
his respirator on for two hours without break, parapet of one of his 
battery's guns knocked off, and general hotness. The news this A.M. is 

I hope you are getting some fun out of The Little Review. I am. I feel I 
have been a bit slow in getting it off the mark, but stuff has to go from 
here so far in advance, and I couldn't at the start tell quite what I should be 
able to get hold of. And some people simply can't be depended on to get 
stuff in by a given date. I have perhaps lost one number out of the first six, 
i.e., I should have got the stuff of the first six numbers into the first five. 
I am very much pleased at getting such a lot from Hueffer. Watt has 
written to Hardy, 

Symons sent in unasked. Wanted to be with us unpaid rather than have 



me send his playlet to Drama, which I offered to do, as it isn't particularly 
of this generation, and as Drama would have paid him. 

I shall send ms. of my prose collection to Knopf as soon as The Egoist 
sends me clear proofs of the 'Fontenelle.' That will be better for K.'s 
printers to work from than the sections cut from the paper. 

To-Day for July has a review of J.B.Y.'s letters, joined widi an attack 
on Bennett. I think Father will have sent you the Times Literary Supple- 
ment review of the letters (it is by Clutton-Brock). 

Father has just sent me a copy of Seven Arts. I am glad there is some- 
thing else. 

I have been in a whirl of work for weeks. However, you'll see the 
results. No use discussing 'em here. 

Do what you like re the ' Cake of Soap.' Please remember me to J.B.Y. 

130: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 21 August 

Dear H.M. : Re the Brooke. / didn't write about his beautiful 

toes, it was his ' friend' who chose that theme for a dithyrambic. And some 
of his friends were a pretty poor lot. I don't mind the article 1 not appear- 
ing, but I wish I could really get you roused on the meaning of the Ameri- 
can University and the menace of it. 

The professor and his class are the only people in America who know 
enough to get a perspective, i.e., who could for example compare Masters 
and Crabbe, and get a level appreciation. They are so stuck that they, of 
course, don't see Masters. They are so provincial that they don't know any 
modern French (which in this case is the other angle from which to get a 
proper appreciation of Masters, i.e. apart from a rhetorical whoop, or a 
controversial smashing of the fools who opposed his Spoon River Antho- 


This sort of defence isn't balanced appreciation. It don't in the least help 
the next real thing that appears. 

The matter ought to be gone on with, both in detail and in general — 
whether my tone in doing so is politic or not. Nobody else ever has the 
nerve to tackle this sort of thing: heaven knows it is not particularly enjoy- 
able. In dealing with the 'public' one has never said enough. There is 
nothing but * rubbing it in ' that has the slightest effect. 

1 An article protesting the award of the Henry Howland Memorial Prize for 
poetry to the heirs of Rupert Brooke. 


1 9 17— ae tat 31 

I am sorry Sandburg don't like Three Cantos, F is too low in the 

scale of God's creatures to bother about. I can't see how anyone can see the 
thing in such small sections. However, the printing it in three parts has 
given me a chance to emend, and the version for the book is, I think, much 
improved. Eliot is the only person who proffered criticism instead of 
general objection. 

I discount Sandburg's objection, by the fact that he would probably 
dislike anything with foreign quotations in it. Flint used to be the same 
(may be yet). Still one can't stop merely because some people haven't read 
Latin. It is the complex of the uneducated, in the same way class hatred 
works on the basis of money. Don't for God's sake say this to Sandburg. 
A decent system would give him time to loaf in a library. Which while 
perhaps less important that loafing in pubs, is still a part of the complete 
man's loafing. 

Anyhow my next batch of stuff will be short poems, which, let us hope, 
someone will enjoy. Also one should not do the same thing all the time. 
The long poem is at least a change. 

Are you printing Alice's poems on American poets? They are the only 
entertaining native products I have seen for some time. 

The lowest level is reached by The Seven Arts. Compare their August 
poem 'The Old Courtesan' with the poem of Villon's from which Rodin 
named his statuette, to which the 7 Arts animal dedicates his muck. 

The enclosed note is typical. Will you send the ass a copy of Poetry, 
Oct. 19 1 3, with my list of French poets in it. Who the hell does she think 
is going to pay my board while I take two months to translate a volume of 
selections from contemporary French writers. She is like Weygandt who 
wrote for free copies of my books just after he had come into a fortune. 

For sheer lack of consideration or realization give me a compatriot 
every time. Too bloody lazy to know anything or read anything. Why the 
hell can't she subscribe to The Egoist and read Ciolkowska, who is the only 
regular chronicler of French stuff. 

131: To Wyndham Lewis 

London, 25 August 

Dear Lewis: Tarr has been gathered into a lump and been sent to 
America. As that sentence cannot possibly pass any censor, let me say 
clearly 'The manuscript of your novel' more or less correct (Miss S. 



having been through the furrin languidges) has at last been dispatched by 

I have also a receipt from Barclay's for £12/12 (sent to be sure to Miss 
E. Pound, but passons). That's for your Egyptian drawing. I forget the 
name and can't be bothered looking it up. I have asked them to print the 
'Soldier of Humour' all in one number (Dec). 

As to Mayfair. I wrote you months ago that I hadn't seen anybody for 
ages. My letter was sent back with a statement that your whereabouts was 
uncertain. It was just after you had gone to hospital. My tidings were then 
stale, and no use. 

Miss S. has sent you the letters, with request to expurgate. I'd rather you 
did it yourself. I am using the Preface 'Inferior Religions' in Sept. and 
'Cantleman' in Oct. Lady Gregory's respectability in Nov. supposed to 
placate the reader. 

I am doing a series of 'Studies of Contemporary Mentality' in the New 
Age. Entertaining, laborious, unimportant. Am also plotting a book of 
essays for American publication. That's not of very breathless interest 
either. Really I feel as if I had writ an article a day for a month. Am trying 
to get 'caught up.' 

The Figaro cutting was entertaining. Miss S. did not say it was from 
you. Probably never entered her head that anyone would suppose it to be 
her own, very own, unaided discovery. 

Baker is worried about you. I do not think I picture your life as one of 
satin-coated ease. However, it is just as well to emphasise things. I have 
not read Barbusse, Dorothy did. Baker don't feel like reading it either. 

I don't see what the hell any writer can add to one's imagination of 
things. However . . . that's no reason for not trying. And again neither 
Baker nor I can be taken as types of average imagination. All these books 
should ultimately be very useful [lacuna] . . 1 has done one on the hospi- 
tals. ' La vie des Mar . .[lacuna] . . s '. 

I on the contrary have been writing of Laforgue, Elizabethan classicists, 
etc. etc. Vildrac said 'Ce serait bien plaisant, passer sa vie en belles 

I believe my two cousins who certainly don't care a hang for European 
civilization have both been called up. Such is the irony of things. 

There's an American employment something or other, which has told 
me to go away and be quiet, that in time our own troops will give us all the 
employment, etc. 

None of which things will in the least temper the sounds of ' The End of 
a Perfect Day' or kindred gramophone records or stay off crumps from 
your parapet. 


1917— aetat 31 

I wish you would get a decent and convenient wound in some compara- 
tively tactful part of your anatomy. Say the left buttock. But that makes 
lying in bed uncomfortable. Really it is difficult to choose a part suitable 
for mangling. Hell. 

Such gossip as there is, it is not amusing. The Strand magazine for 
Sept. assures me the [lacuna] are effective. The Morning Chronicle assures 
me my compatriots are called 'Teddies/ which is one in the eye for Mr. 
Woodie Wilson. However, transpontine politics may not amuse you. I 
have sent on the Little Review. I suppose the Aug. will arrive sometime, 
but it has nothing of yours. Etc. 

132: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 26 August 

Dear H.M.: Here is the first of the French articles. Eliot is uncertain about 
his copy, undependable for anything at a given date. The work at the bank 
which at first seemed to leave him freer than teaching, now seems to use a 
deal of his energy. It is a great waste. 

De Bosschfere is busy with his illustrations. He says he will do Suares or 
Elskamp. But it is a bit hard to hurry him until his poem is printed. 

Re what you said about the French articles accused of following in 
Amy's wake. I think you had better put this note in the notes: 

'The Approach to Paris,' Mr. Pound's first series of articles dealing 

with Jules Romains, Vildrac, De Regnier, R£my de Gourmont, 

Laurent Tailhade, Corbtere, Rimbaud, Klingsor, Jammes, and other 

contemporary French poets, appeared in The New Age in the late 

summer of 1913. (Vide a note on Romains, and one headed 'Paris' in 

our issues for Aug. and Oct. of that year.) 

I think that will stave off any suggestion of Amy's having led me. I met 
Romains and Vildrac in the spring of that year, and had read La Vie 
Unanime in 1912 or 191 1. 

Not that priority matters eternally. Amy had read a lot of French when 
I met her. I certainly did not initiate her into the mysteries of modern 
French, or she me. 

The only thing, or at least the thing one envies the rich is that they can 
order up fifty new books whenever the fancy takes them. 

I did my reviews out of Fletcher's copies and, I think, cut the pages in 



several. He had a splendid lot of books. And certainly a lot of them had not 
undergone the paper-cutter. 

My series of articles must have been running in the N.A. when Amy 
landed here on her first great political circuit. 

Ah well, let us come to the present. 

I went through a great pile of Margaret Postgate's poems. Found you 
had seen them and selected one. The rest seem to me to have a germ, but 
to be unready for publication. 

The war seems to have stopped poetry here and in France. Undigested 
war is no better than undigested anything else. Now no one has time to 


I am copying out and enclosing three poems by ' P.T.R.' I have come 
to no decision about them. They seem to me to 'have come,' i.e. the sub- 
ject has made the poem. That is perhaps their only virtue, but it is in con- 
trast to the flood of stuff wherein the author has so obviously been racking 
his head to find something to write about. At any rate they are not 

I haven't the slightest conviction about the girl's ability (she is a frierd 
of Miss Postgate's), nor do I expect, or not expect, anything about her 
future production. 

If you don't want them, please send them back promptly. Most, or at 
least a lot, of my worry about Poetry has been due to delay in Chicago, 
and authors' fussing at this end. 

Note, I am not in favour of using English stuff unless it is better than 
the local produce. 

2. As the magazine has had practically no English support, I think it 
would be well after the war to use French stuff where possible, in place of 

If you are going to lead, that is about the only regular thing you can 
do now. We should have at least two pages of French poetry per month, if 
not four. 

The time is not as opportune as when I first urged this five years ago; 
France will be more exhausted by the war than is England. Nevertheless, I 
hope to get to Paris when it is over. And to distinguish ourselves from the 
Boston poetry this-that-and-the-others, a French section will be excellent. 
Only one must be able to be quite definite with the men when one meets 

It will be a change, and the guarantors will want signs of life, and you 
mustn't slip into the tone of The Dial, The Seven Arts, The New Republic, 


1 9 17— aetat 31 

etc. ... at least the magazine is done if you do, and its preeminence is 

All the other ' new magazines ' have found England by now. 

On the practical side, I must be out to buy a certain amount of French 
verse before I can possibly get at what good there is. The actual putting 
this plan into effect is probably some time off, but one must prepare and 
agree about it. 

I do not see anything new or alive coming here, and one might per- 
fectly well give up the English pages to French. The format is now so big 
that four pages of French will leave plenty of room for all the decent 
American stuff (and space over). 

I think also we should add a definite French correspondent if I can find 
the right man. I think I have one who will do, i.e. who has some sense and 
who would take enough interest in the matter. There are several intelligent 
men who would not take an interest; they won't do. 

The minimum offerable arrangement would be six articles a year at 10 
dollars each. And someone would have to be paid 2 dollars or 2.50 each to 
translate diem. That would possibly be me. I don't think it can be done 
any cheaper. 

This ought to have been done long ago. But anyhow. A magazine can't 
stand still. It must grow or decay. 

I suggest articles of 1500 to 2000 words. 2 pages of French poetry the 
month of the article and 4 pages the alternate months. And I should cut out 
practically all London poetry save Yeats, Eliot, and stuff of really unusual 
interest. Also the weeds of U.S. vers libre which is getting to the state the 
Celtic glamour had got to ten years ago. 

Miss Tietjens' book had nice stuff in it, but was not tense enough. 

I shall follow my essay on French satirists by one on The Hard and Soft 
in French poetry. I have it in my head and think it will be a good one. 

133: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, {? 30 August) 

Dear M.C.A.: He 'happens to know* I omitted a name because of per- 
sonal dislike. He is a bloody and louse-eaten liar. 

As a guide to tender feet, I suggest that my 'personal dislike* of indi- 
vidual contemporaries has largely arisen from two causes (also that it has 
M 177 


arisen subjectively in the mind or boozum of the disliked and not in my 

Cause i. a. My unwillingness to praise what seems to me unworthy of 
b. My unwillingness, after having discerned a faint gleam of vir- 
tue in a young man's work, or even got some of his stuff 
printed, then to be unable to note signs of progress in later 
work, or even to be unable to retain my interest. 
Cause 2. My interest (sudden or gradual) in the work of some other artist 
or writer. 

I think there is one slip in the number. 'Help us to make the L.R. a 
power.' Bad wording. Nothing but our own blasted contents will do that. 
Henley was a power, I have heard tell, with the National Observer when 
its circulation had shrunk to 80 subscribers. I don't want to pursue 
dominion to that extent, but it is a glorious precedent. 

As for my 'personal dislike' of poets. CRRRRHist Jheezus when I think 
of the hours' boredom I have put up with from people merely because 
they have in an unguarded and irrecoverable and irresponsible moment 
committed a good poem, or several !!!!!! Ah, that one might live to 
see the expression on the face of a new poet, whom I had just been boost- 
ing, upon seeing another still newer poet seated in an armchair. 

And then there is Amy. Is there any life into which the personal Amy 
would not bring rays of sunshine? Alas ! and alas only, that the price, i.e., 
equal suffrage in a republic of poesy, a recognition of artistic equality, 
should come between us. 

I think, despite the difficulty of knowing what one will think in a year's 
time, 1 think, credo che credessi, etc., that dear Amy Lowell's talents and 
temperament will always be political rather than literary or artistic. She is 
delightful. Only she wanted me to sell out lock stock and barrel, and I 
said it didn't interest me. And still she would have it, so I named a price, 
i.e., I said I would contribute to a democratized anthology if she would 
institute a yearly prize for poetry to be adjudged by Yeats, Hueffer, and 
myself. (I even went so far as to name a committee including herself. I 
can't remember whether it was she, I and Yeats, or she, I and Hueffer, or 
all four.) But that touched the sacred springs of wrath. 

I think she was a bloody fool, for we could have bust the British 
academic committee (called the British Academy) to smithereens, and she 
could have been somebody over here (which she wanted to be) rather than 
being driven back to the Hylo kennels. 


19 17— aetat 31 
134: To Amy Lowell 

London, 30 August 

My dear Amy: Are you going to get onto the Band Wagon? 

You tried to stampede me into accepting as my artistic equals various 
people whom it would have been rank hypocrisy for me to accept in any 
such manner. There is no democracy in the arts. 

And now what is this nonsense you write to Miss Anderson about 
'bitterest' enmities? 

135: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, {September) 

Ch&re M.: The Iris Barry and Rodker stuff is not a compromise but a bet, 
I stake my critical position, or some part of it, on a belief that both of them 
will do something. I am not risking much, because I have seen a lot of their 
mss. The Barry has done the draft of a novel, and it has the chance of 
being literature. Rodker has convinced me, at last, daat he 'has it in him.' 
And one must have les jeunes. Rodker ought to be up to regulation in a 
few years' time. 

He will go farther than Richard Aldington, though I don't expect any- 
one to believe that statement for some time. He has more invention, more 
guts. His father did not have a library full of classics, but he will learn. 

They are neither of them stupid, blockheaded as F and Lawrence 

are stupid and blockheaded. Lawrence had less showing above the water- 
line when Hueffer took him up than Rodker has now. And certainly 
Hueffer has been justified. Much as Lawrence annoys me, and inferior as 
he is to Joyce. 

Yes The Seven Arts is slop. Yes. And The New Republic is dung dust, 
with an admixture of dung, also dust dry. 

I must get out of the big stick habit, and begin to put my prose stuff 
into some sort of possibly permanent form, not merely into saying things 
which everybody will believe in three years' time and take as a matter of 
course in ten. 

I.e. articles which can be reduced to 'Joyce is a writer, goddamn your 
eyes, Joyce is a writer, I tell you Joyce etc etc/ Lewis can paint, Gaudier 
knows a stone from a milk-pudding. Wipe your feet 111!!! 



136: To Edgar Jepson 

London, 7 September 

Dear Jepson: I have the idea, scheme, plot, for the spy-detective com- 
munication with the foe story. But I am too bleating green in the form. 

Can you, or will you collaborate? And will you come in to tea, any day 
to say No or Yes, or discuss the matter? I shall be in Saturday and Sunday 
at tea time. Or you can drop me a card if some day next week suits you 

137: To William Carlos Williams 

London, 10 November 

My dear William: At what date did you join the ranks of the 

old ladies? 

Among the male portion of the community one constantly uses frag- 
ments of letters, fragments of conversation (anonymously, quite anony- 
mously, not referring to the emitter by name) for the purpose of sharpen- 
ing a printed argument. 

I note your invitation to return to my fatherland (pencil at the top of 
your letter sic g.t.h.); I shall probably accept it at the end of the war. 

My knowledge of the ('stet') American heart is amply indicated in 
' L'Homme Moyen Sensuel.' 

I had no ulterior or hidden meaning in calling you or the imaginary 
correspondent an 'American' author. Still, what the hell else are you? I 
mean apart from being a citizen, a good fellow (in your better moments), 
a grouch, a slightly hypersensitized animal, etc.?? Wot bloody kind of 
author are you save Amurkun (same as me) ? 

And whether, O Demosthenes, is one to be called a 'damn fool' or a 

Your sap is interrupted. Try De Gourmont's 'Epilogue' ('95— '98). And 
don't expect the world to revolve about Rutherford. 

If you had any confidence in America you wouldn't be so touchy about 

I thought the millennium that we all idiotically look for and 

work for was to be the day when an American artist could stay at home 
without being dragged into civic campaigns, dilutations of controversy, 


1917— Aetat 32 

etc., when he could stay in America without growing propagandist. God 
knows I have to work hard enough to escape, not propagande, but getting 
centred in propagande. 

And America ! What the hell do you a bloomin' foreigner know about 
the place? Your pfere only penetrated the edge, and you've never been west 
of Upper Darby, or the Maunchunk switchback. Would Harriet, with the 
swirl of the prairie wind in her underwear, or the virile Sandburg recognize 
you, an effete Easterner, as a real American? Inconceivable ! ! ! ! 

My dear boy, you have never felt the whoop of the PEEraries. You have 
never seen the projecting and protuberant Mts. of the Sierra Nevada. Wot 
can you know of the counthry ? 

You have the naive credulity of a Co. Claire emigrant. But I (der 
grosse Ich) have the virus, the bacillus of the land in my blood, for nearly 
three bleating centuries. 

(Bloody snob. 'Eave a brick at 'im ! ! ! !) 

You (read your Freud) have a Vaterersatz, you have a paternal image at 
your fireside, and you call it John Bull. 

Your statement about my wanting Paris to be like London is a figment 
of your own diseased imagination. 

'I warn you that anything you say at this time may later be used against 
you.' The Arts vs. Williams. 

Or will you my head on a platter? Or would you like it brought over to 
be punched?? A votre service, M'sieu. I am coming to inspect you. 

I of course like your Old Man, and I have drunk his Goldwasser. 

I was very glad to see your wholly incoherent unAmerican poems in the 

Of course Sandburg will tell you that you miss the 'big drifts/ and 
Bodenheim will object to your not being sufficiently decadent. 

(You thank your bloomin gawd you've got enough Spanish blood to 
muddy up your mind, and prevent the current American ideation from 
going through it like a blighted collander.) 

The thing that saves your work is opacity, and don't you forget it. 
Opacity is not an American quality. Fizz, swish, gabble of verbiage, these 
are echt Amerikanisch. 

And Alas, alas, poor old Masters. Look at Oct. Poetry. 

But really this 'old friend* hurt feeling business is too Skipwithcan- 
n&lish; it is peu vous. I demand of you more robustezza. Bigod sir, you 
show more robustezza, or I will come over to Rutherford and have at you, 
coram, in person. 

And moreover you answer my questions, p. 38, before you go on to the 
p.s. p. 39 which does not concern you. 



Let me indulge in the American habit of quotation: 

' Si le cosmopolitisme litt&aire gagnait encore et qu'il r&issit k £teindre 
ce que les differences de race ont allum£ de haine de sang parmi les hommes, 
j'y verrais un gain pour la civilisation et pour l'humanit6 tout enti&re. . . . 

'L'amour excessif et exclusif d'une patrie a pour imm&Hat corollaire 
Thorreur des patries £trang£res. Non seulement on craint de quitter la jupe 
de sa maman, d'aller voir comment vivent les autres hommes, de se mSler 
k leurs luttes, de partager leurs travaux; non seulement on reste chez soi, 
mais on finit par fermer sa porte. 

'Cette folie gagne certains litterateurs et le mSme professeur,en sortant 
d'expliquer le Cid ou Don Juan, redige de gracieuses injures contre Ibsen 
et l'influence, helas, trop illusoire, de son oeuvre, pourtant toute de 
lumifere et de beaut£.' Et cetera. Lie down and compose yourself. 

P.S. It's also nonsense this wail that M.C.A. 'dislikes' you. 

138: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 28 November 

Dear Mencken: Mr. Hatteras hasn't sent me the leetle book he wrote of. 
I suppose it is the same 'Lives of Apostles' slated by Orage in The New 
Age, on the same page with my ' Fontenelle.' You might jog his memory 
when you see him. 

I have enjoyed your Book of Prefaces (sent me by John Quinn). I was 
doing a note on it for the L.R. but lost my temper over your remarks on 
H. James on the page where you treat him and Howells together. 

I see the idea aufond, and grant part of it, but your expression is very 
careless, and you shouldn't treat a great man and a mutton-shank in one 
page as if there were no gulph between 'em. I have taken my copy of the 
book to The N. Age and asked Orage to give full notice to last essay. It is 
worth it. 

James was, I admit, touched with a sort of Puritanism but you will 
recall that Goncourt in the preface either to La Fille Elisa or Germanie 
Laceruux says 'we have only been able to do crude types in our realism, 
but realism will go on and manage to present more complex types, more 
complex psychology' (I quote from memory, but that is the gist of it). 
What Henry calls 'down town,' or rather more than that, was done by the 
Goncourts, and H.J. was, I think, more than justified in not trying to do it 


1917— aetat 32 

again, especially as he was better fitted to cover a different terrain. Be- 
sides he has written the most obscene book of our time, puritan or no 

God save us from him when he gets off on connoisseurship. 

I dare say you make Dreiser rather more interesting than his own books 
are. Re Huneker I think you weaken your case a little by only having at 
your disposal some very new artists not necessarily better than those 
whom he 'has got to.' One may still prefer Debussy to Ornstein, even 
though convinced that De B. is stuck at about 19 10. 

I think you have done a good, and much needed job, and have enjoyed 
the book very much (with these few reservations). 

Regards to Hatteras. 

139: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 29 November 

Dear H.M.: I wonder if you have seen H. L. Mencken's Book of % Prefaces , 
especially the last essay in it. 

I think Poetry, with its intense, its almost oppressively respectable repu- 
tation for respectability, is in a good position to take up this matter of 
interference with the mails. (Not re war and pacifism, for I believe it is 
legal for a government to do almost anything in war time. That is, any- 
thing short of military law itself may be regarded as a palliative or sub- 
stitute for military law.) But re the pre-war and coming post-war inter- 
ference with the mails by Comstock's committee of blackguards, some- 
thing certainly ought to be done. And as Poetry has never printed any- 
thing that could bring the blush to the cheek of a deaf nun I think the 
magazine is in an excellent position to act. 

Re the unGermanization of universities, which I have, as you may have 
forgotten, been yelling for some time, I now see that some professors have 
proclaimed it. Not, of course, because they know what or why, but on 
'pathriotic' grounds. 

However, that also should be encouraged. And the nature of philology, 
as a system of dehumanization, gone into. 



140: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (? December) 

Dear M.C.A.: If London and particularly Mayfair, is going to take up the 
magazine, we must be more careful than ever not to have in too much 
Amy, and suburbs. 

Re Amy: I don't want to hedge too much. I don't think we need bar her 
from the magazine, but she can't write for the mondaine London clientele. 
At least I can't see Lady Randolph Churchill (or May Sinclair, for ex- 
ample) reading her with any spirit of reverence. These people can take it 
just as strong as Lewis can pitch. Your own tone suits 'em O.K. (Not that 
you'd care a damn if it didn't but you may as well know it.) 

Hecht is an asset. Hard reading and a bit heavy, but he has the root of 
the matter in him. He is trying to come to grips also. When he recalls the 
fact that Maupassant does not exaggerate, he can write contes — i.e., can 
(future) will be able to. 



141: To Harriet Monroe 

London, 1 January 

Dear H.M,: Nov. and Dec. numbers arrived last night and this A.M. 

I enclose my harvest. 1 have made two series of it, one mediaeval. Before 
you blaspheme over it, do read the Canzon aloud. I have completely re- 
written, or nearly finished completely rewriting all Arnaut Daniel. I use 
this translation among the adaptations in this series because it needs no 
explanatory notes, as do some of the other canzoni. The best one of the lot 
can perhaps appear only in the volume, where notes will be in place. 

There has been no attention to sound for so long, save from Lindsay. 
And his is interesting only as Kipling's was. Believe me one can write it by 
the hour as fast as one scribbles. However you never will believe me in this 
matter, so passons. I don't in the least want to stop Lindsay, any more than 
I would have stopped Barrack Room Ballads. 

The Proven$al is to precede the ' (Moeurs) Contemporaines.' I think it 
will all go on about 1 1 pages. I have marked the first little alba to be put in 
small italics at top of right hand side of page, that will save space. As with 
the quatrain from Lope de Vega in * The Condolence.' 

I liked your comment p. 89, Nov. no. Naturally pleased to see the folk 
song idea smacked again. Even an eminent London musical critic has 
recently got on a platform and said 'all folk songs have authors and the 
authors are individuals.' The blessing of the 'folk' song is solely in that 
the 'folk' forget and leave out things. It is a fading and attrition not a 
creative process. 

My lot should have two separate chief headings, as indicated. The Pro- 
ven$al are to have Roman numerals I. to V. I am not sure that numerals are 
necessary in the ' Contemporaines.' 

I shall probably do some more work on sound. Anything really made to 
speak or sing is bound to lose on the page, unless the reader have some 
sense of sound. This I can not help. Simply the vers libre public are pro- 
bably by now as stone blind to the vocal or oral properties of a poem as the 
'sonnet' public was five or seven years ago to the actual language, i.e. all 
that has made my stuff interesting since 'Contemporania.' This is simply 



to fore-say that the Canzon will set a lot of people grumbling. And that I 
don't care a damn. Not any more than I cared about the objections to vers 

I am profoundly glad my earlier versions of Arnaut weren't published. 
It gives me a chance to do something with it. 

The old man, and the harp, and Mr. Styrax will hold the balance. You 
won't have a wail about my having forsaken or forsworn the present. I 
dare say you are content to get anything rather than Canto IV. 1 

Knopf writes that he sold 323 copies Lustra in Oct. and 9 in Nov., and 
that nobody had offered any assistance. Sandburg has of course pretty well 
covered the ground, still perhaps there might be a brief notice of the 
existence of the American edition. It contains, as you have doubtless 
seen, earlier stuff than that which has appeared in Poetry and is fairly 
good value in pages. The note of acknowledgment is just before the 

142: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (? January) 

Dear M.C.A.: Do give me credit occasionally for at least a reason for my 
acts. Even if it isn't the sole and surviving reason left on the planet; and 
even if I occasionally do not hit a bull's-eye. 

And do for god's sake realize that having graciously wasted a week ex- 
plaining that I would accept K but could not pay for him; I cannot waste 
another saying that we will not print him. I have only a certain amount of 
energy; and that I have (a) to get my poetry written; (b) to pay my rent 
etc., (c) to assist in the promulgation of The L.R. (letters to be placed in 
any order you like). 

There appears to be nothing in America between professors and 
Kreymborgs and Bodenheim. Platonic hemiandroi. Anemia of guts on one 
side and anemia of education on the other. 

As yet since May of last year America has coughed up no 'creative' 
stuff, i.e. no poetry or fiction to The L.R. apart from jh 2 on females with 

1 She wasn't. She accepted neither series, considering both 'unprintable'. Her 
notes on several of the poems are instructive. Of 'Vergier': 'lovely, but — 
frank!' Of 'Mr. Styrax': 'Impossibly frank — virgo'. Of 'Ritratto': 'Amusing — 
about Lowell — but " stomped into my bedroom" \ 

2 Jane Heap. 


19 1 8— aetat 32 

faces with noses level with ears which wasn't fiction. But apart from the 
editorial, the U.S. has given nothing to contents of L.R. save that treacle 
about Judas which affected me much more violently than K seems to have 
affected you. 

Even so I think you were 'right' to print it, on the principle that one 
must accept something now and again, if one is not utterly to choke off all 
inflow of mss. (a very dangerous principle, but pragmatic). And, as you 
say, I am ageing rapidly. Byron is described as very old, or at least gray 
and showing age at 36. 1 have but few years left me. I cannot be expected 
to keep up sufficient interest in the state of public imbecility to go on being 
'astringent' perpetually. 

I wonder at what point a discussion of music would lead you and me 
into mutual assassination ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Gawd only knows. 

Joyce, by the way, approves of the clavichord. And he has also sung in 
opera. Lewis, I think, regards the instrument as a strange unaccountable 
sort of mouse- trap; the charwoman (after four months' service) spoke of it 
the other day as 'the little black table' (observation the leading character- 
istic of the ' lower orders'). 

Ch£re amie, I am, for the time being, bored to death with being any kind 
of an editor. I desire to go on with my long poem; and like the Duke of 
Chang, I desire to hear the music of a lost dynasty. (Have managed to hear 
it, in fact.) And I desire also to resurrect the art of the lyric, I mean words 
to be sung, for Yeats' only wail and submit to keening and chawnting 
(with a u) and Swinburne's only rhapsodify. And with a few exceptions 
(a few in Browning) there is scarcely anything since the time of Waller and 
Campion. And a mere imitation of them won't do. 

143: To Wyndham Lewis 

London, 13 January 

DearW.L.:— / — / 

You will be grieved to know that The Little Review lost its case, 1 
despite J.Q.'s noble defence 'The man who wrote that story can not be a 
sensualist' etc. I have all the papers of the case, and some of them are rich 
and refreshing reading. I have been too busy with the Xllth Century to 

1 The October 191 7 issue was suppressed in America because of Lewis' story 
' Candeman's Spring Mate*. 



take any further steps in the matter. The job is now about done, and part 
of it decently. 

I enclose more on Augustus, springing from the Castalian fount of the 

Virgin's Prayer 

E\ra Pound 
And Augustus John 
Bless the bed 
That I lie on. 

(Authorship unrecognized, I first heard it in 1909.) It is emphatically not 
my own, I believe it to have come from an elder generation. However it is 
not pertinent to the subject. No one else ever coupled our names. 

Orage hopes to get the Contemporary Mentality published as a book. 
It is not an important fandango. Enough of this. 

144: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London^ {? January) 

Dear Margaret: Right you are. Re Quinn, remember: Tis he who hath 
bought the pictures; tis he who both getteth me an American publisher 
and smacketh the same with rods; tis he who sendeth me the Spondos 
Oligos, which is by interpretation the small tribute or spondooliks where- 
with I do pay my contributors, wherefore is my heart softened toward 
the said J.Q., and he in mine eyes can commit nothing heinous. 

Can you, on the other hand, see Mencken? He writes hoping the sup- 
pression won't drive you out of business; and if he chose to wail in his 
back pages re 'Cantleman' (Lewis), it might do some good. After all he 
still has a circulation. And his eyes discerned me years since. 

Re Amy. I don't want her. But if she can be made to liquidate, to 
excoriate, to cash in, on a magazine, especially in a section over which I 
have no control, and for which I am not responsible, then would I be 
right glad to see her milked of her money, mashed into moonshine, at 
mercy of monitors. Especially as appearance in U.S. section does not 
commit me to any approval of her work. 

Of course (/"(which is unlikely) she ever wanted to return to the true 
church and live like an honest woman, something might be arranged. 


1918— aetat 32 

Is she yet weary of B , and the mulattoism, mental and 


Do, or perhaps do not, regard the prospectus of Contemporary Verse. Of 
all the crapule that a reputed millionaire was ever responsible for. ... I 
hope it costs S something. 

(Also remember that I can't possibly know from this side which of my 
damned suggestions are any good. Probably any suggestion I make re 
American policy is bad. However I may as well send 'em. You can reject 
'em with perfect ease.) 

Etc. I do have to stop and earn my board now and again. Malheureuse- 

145: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 25 January 

Dear Mencken: Thanks for Pistols. It has its moments. But it don't keep 
up the 'Man of Sixty' tone, wherein Hatteras is at his best. It also does not 
appear to be the work of a man of ' them years.' 

I sent off my notes on Prefaces to Miss A. I was too exhausted to recast 
diem and told her to go ahead if she liked. Boyd has just proposed an 
article on the book, either for Egoist or L.R., and I have asked him to send 
it on. I think the sketch of Nathan is better done than that of Mencken. It 
is a gay work. Orage is very stupid over it. 

Can't find the bloody thing (i.e. his review) at the moment. 

As you never eat with authors, I hope you will drop in between meals on 
your way to the Tyrol. Unless you choose to regard me as, by brevet, an 
editor, or a human being. 

There is great desolation in litterchure at the moment. Joyce's new 
novel has a corking 1st Chap, (which will get us suppressed), not such a 
good second one. 

I think I have found a new writer of contes. At least he promises. 

Hatteras must be sixty. I have been reading him for . . . well no, not 
forty years. Perhaps he need only be fifty. 

146: To John Quinn 

London, 29 January 

Dear Quinn: If my last cable has reached you it should answer your last 
two or three. 



Maud Gonne was sent to a nursing home, which she left, apparently 
without opposition, at the end of about five days. 

Home Office wrote me that the arrangement had been made for a week. 

At any rate, she is now apparently free, living at Woburn Bldgs. and 
agitating for return to Ireland. 

That country, so far as I know, has never been considered a health- 
resort for consumptives. As soon as she got to the nursing home she was 
interviewed for some Irish paper. Lansbury has since turned loose in the 
Herald. And M.G. is, I think, writing to other papers. I give it up. 

She talks about there being no ' German plot.' Now, to the best of my 
knowledge, she was not accused of any complicity in German plots. Most 
of the arrests were, I believe, 'preventive/ the official position being that 
trouble was likely, and that it was better to lock up a certain number of 
people than to have a lot more shot and a few more in danger of hanging. 

I enclose the rough draft of my letter to Lamar. It's no use, I haven't a 
typist, and can't do everything. I send you the draft merely for the sake of 
one or two points for your own consideration. 

Orage is going to have a look at the papers of the case today. Thanks for 
booming me to him. 

Re copying the Lamar letter. I have finished my Arnaut, and now Ray- 
monde Collignon is really going to sing the old music, the reconstructions 
Rummel and I made six years ago. It means a new start on the whole thing 
(Provensal XII Century music), and probably the resurrection of as much 
of it as is worth while. We've been held up for lack of a singer with the 
right equipment, intelligence, etc. 

Anyhow, it is more important than trying to save America from itself. 

Fortunately, I've the reprods. of the Milan mss. and some copies we 
made of various mss. in Paris, so we'll be able to go ahead despite the 
Bibliotheque National's being closed. Only inconvenience being that 
Rummel is in Paris, so some of the work will have to be by letter. 

Re the rough draft for Lamar. I am glad it was not written to me. 

Knopf wrote on Jan. 4 and on Jan. 7, before and after Quinn. Con- 
trast extremely amusing. 

147: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (? February) 

Dear Margaret: Jan. number arrived. Feeling better. Number looks busi- 
ness-like, and 'about to continue.* Damn, damn, damn I must pull myself 
together and do something. 


19 1 8— aetat 32 

I wish to Christ you would take an anaesthetic and print this cursed 
thing of Keary's; thereby saving me time to breathe and get something 

Bill Wms. is the most bloody inarticulate animal that ever gargled. But 
it's better than Amy's bloody ten-cent repetitive gramophone, perfectly 
articulate (i.e. in the verbal section). 

Whereas the bleating genius of the home product. Hecht might write 
good De Maupassant if he didn't try to crack jokes and ring bells; and if he 
would only realize that he don't need to exaggerate to be interesting. 

Sangre di San Pietro ! ! ! Why ! ! ! do you recall that better to be for- 
gotten libellule of Wilkinson's????? Raoul Root indeed. 1 Khrrist. Am I 
a pet pug to have blue ribbons curled in my tail ? 

Despite your wail, Lewis' description of the three American rescuers in 
the second half of 'Sol(dier of) Humour' is excellent, Digit of the Moon, 
etc. Oh very good. I got him to rewrite some of it, but wot the hell can a 
man do in his present circumstances? It is, as he recognizes, a question of 
doing his stories somehow or other, or not doing them at all. 

He will, if he don't get killed, revise later before book publication. 

Dast it, the James and De Gourmont numbers are six months' work 
each. And I do not want to sink wholly into criticism to the utter stoppage 
of creation. Etc. 

148: To H. L. Mencken 

London, 12 March 

Mon Cher Henri Laureatus Laurentinus: No, I did not write it, Eliot 
wrote it, 2 but it would be extremely unwise for him, at this stage of his 
career, with the hope of sometime getting paid by elder reviews, and pub- 
lished by the godly, and in general of not utterly bitching his chances in 
various quarters, for him to have signed it. 

This information is confidential. The proposition from N.Y. was to 
reprint the De Bosschfere essay on me, but I thought it too high flown, too 
much about my noble soul and not sufficiently documenti. 

I had just boomed Eliot, but he was the only person one could trust 
not to talk about the Rocky Mountains, the bold unfettered West, the 
Kawsmos etc. 

1 Pound's note on Mencken's Book of Prefaces appeared in The Little Review 
under this pseudonym. 

2 Eira Pound r His Metric and Poetry. 



The thing should have been signed with a nom-de-swank, but it got 
printed before that sane suggestion reached Knopf. — / — / 

149: To John Quinn 

London, 3 April 

Dear John Quinn: Thanks for yours of March 14th and the enclosure. It 
is awfully good of you to go on talking of getting more guarantors when 
you have so many causes to be displeased. 

To the best of my recollection, my instructions were that my article was 
to be submitted to you. 

I agree that the number 1 is too much on one note. The fault lies in 
Lewis' delay. The Joyce and Hueffer with something less pungent be- 
tween them would have gone very well. Lewis' 'Imaginary Letter* 
should have come out months ago. I had forgotten, or rather sending the 
mss. over so long ago I had not been able to plan the numbers very much. 
Any other chapter of Hueffer would have balanced with the Joyce or 

Miss A. was trying to get the Lewis out of the way to make room for my 
'Imaginary Letter,' which couldn't precede Lewis' final one. 

Also, with the change in size, which I couldn't calculate, either as to 
time or as to the effect on consuming mss., plus Miss A.'s elimination of all 
American contributions (possibly in deference to Kahn's remarks?), plus 
the uncertainty of Lewis' times and seasons, I have had to leave the order 
and grouping to Miss A. 

I can't agree with you about Joyce's first chapter. I don't think the pas- 
sages about his mother's death and the sea would come with such force if 
they weren't imbedded in squalor and disgusts. 

I may say that I rec'd the fourth chapter some days ago, and deleted 
about twenty lines before sending it off to N.Y.; and also wrote Joyce my 
reasons for thinking the said lines excessive. 

He does not disgust me as Wells does. 

Hueffer's stuff was done five years ago. I think it was time somebody 
wiped up Weiniger. Tho' I have never been interested enough in him to 
read him, I am glad to see him cleaned off and marked, 'Not Necessary/ 
Neither have I read Havelock Ellis. The 'subject/ as you say, does not 
particularly interest me. 

1 The March 1 9 1 8 number of The Little Review. 

1918— aetat 32 

My whole position is simply: 'permettre k ceux qui en valent la peine, 
franchement d'&rire leur pensfe.' 

Jules Romains is ideologue, and undoubtedly mars his work by riding 
an idea to death. If he didn't he probably wouldn't give himself the oppor- 
tunity of getting out the really good part of his stuff. He seems to me about 
the only 'younger' man in France whose head works at all. There are 
interesting things in him. I don't think I have ever claimed more than that. 
Duhamel, Chennevtere, Arcos, all less than Romains, and if they did any- 
thing good he would know it. 

I don't believe in Rolland. Possibly prejudiced by Cannan, but still I 
don't believe in anybody Cannan would take up with. 

I wish Romains was someone you believed in, but still — 1 can't see any 
way round that particular corner. I am not infatuated, I simply think him 
the best of the lot over there. One of the few who would be with us, 
rather than with the Poetry Book Shop and the Georgian Anthologies, 
Abercrombie, Eddie Marsh, etc. 

There is something in his work. It is not the hebetude of a lignified cere- 
brum. And I think I did mention limitations in my note on the 'Hard and 
Soft in Fr. Poetry.' 

I think also he is possibly an organizer. The other organizers in Paris 
are either pure wind, like Mercereau and Parmentier, or else lunatics like 
Barzun (Lowells and Lindsays). 

Romains has done at least as much creative work as talk about it. Which 
is more than one can say of most of his confreres, etc., etc. At any rate, it is 
the best that can be done. Hope Kahn won't think I am lying down on the 

Poor Joyce is down again with his eyes. Lewis nearly dying of the 
attempt to paint something bad enough in the right way. 

Eliot has emitted a few new and diverting verses. Sending 'em for Sept. 

Thanks again for correcting Pavannes. 

150: To Margaret C. Anderson 

London, (? April) 

Dear M.C.A.: I enclose another lost sheep. It has taken me months to 
recover it, samee Fenollosa. 

It is not wildly exciting, and it is not news, but it is a small scrap of 
Voltaire's Dictionnaire Philosophique, which considering its date might 
N 193 


serve to show how far tar far etc., how long long long etc., it takes for a 
light to travel across the darkness of Anglo-American literature. 

I know it is too long, but it simply won't cut, and P. 17 with passage 
about Sarah is almost worth waiting for. 

Also P. 3. 'It seems probable that God was not attempting to educate 
die Jews in philosophy or cosmogony.' 

Etc., etc. The damned thing has bits, and they won't come out of the 
whole mass of it. 

Frazer has of course done the whole job monumentally, but good god 
how slowly, in how many volumes. No reader of the Golden Bough is 
likely to relapse into bigotry, but it takes such a constitution to read it. 

A reminder that * There once was a man called Voltaire ' can do no harm. 
The measure in which he is unread, can I think be found by printing the 
fragments as 'translated from an Eighteenth Century author' and see how 
many people place it. 

Poetry has just come with a very asinine note on the Feb. number. 1 

Bad poetry being alike everywhere it is natural that Rimbaud should 
differ from Longfellow and Vaughan Moody, and Hen Van Dyke, and 
that Byron from Musset (both romantic and careless writers of same 
degree of relative goodness and badness) should be about even. Byron 
rather more snap, a good satirist and a loose writer. 

151: To Edgar Jepson 

London, (f May) 

Dear E.J.: It would be very bad editing for me to devote ten pages to 
advertising the existence of Frost, Masters, Lindsay, all of whom are dead 
as mutton so far as the L.R. reader is concerned. The L.R. reader in 
America, anyhow, has had all he can stand of that lot. He knows what 
their stuff looks like etc. Masters we have said farewell to. Frost sinks of 
his own weight. Lindsay we have parodied. 

Also the reference to me would have to come out. It would do anywhere 
save in a magazine where I had so much influence. Also we have just had a 
eulogy of Eliot. 

Also I don't think you have quite got the concentration of vitriol that 
you would have if you had lived in it, and suffered. If I sent the article 

1 Poetry, April 1918, pp. 54-5, 

19 1 8— aetat 32 

as it stands Miss A. would merely send it back pointing out that Eliot 
' executes ' with more certainty of fire in his Egoist articles. 

What I should like would be to cut the thing to three or four pages, 
keeping all the sting. It is no use saying 'this is prose': remark has been 
worn out on all sorts of vers libre good and bad. It is another matter to say 
' This is not only prose, but it is prose damn badly written.' 
It seems to me you get the gist of your criticism on p. 426. 
A general statement that there is a Wild West school, that they write 
such lines as: then the specifically bad lines you have singled out. 

(No need long passages to illustrate. / simply skip 'em, and the American 
intelligent reader (where he exists), anyhow the reader of current Am. 
poetry would merely skip 'em.) 

Then p. 426, and the allusion to Eliot, but no need to quote him at 
length. The thing was (obviously) aimed at Poetry's readers. The L.R. lot 
don't need it at the same length. Eng. Rev. readers need to be shown some 
of the rot. That's O.K. for Engl. Rev. 

For us, it does too much honour to Frost, Masters and Lindsay to take 
'em so seriously. Expression of dislike is no use. Illustration of rottenness 
by single punk lines does the job. 

More than that is as much a waste of printer's bill as it would be for me 
suddenly to rediscover Masefield's diarrhoea, or Abercrombie's desiccated 
feces: and present 'em at length. 

Four pages is perhaps too brief a space: you have plucked some savorous 

Don't know whether this will suit you. Have you a spare copy that I 
could try tentative cuts on, if it does. P. 426 does the job or most of it. 

If you don't mind my messing about with it, I think I can leave all the 
sting, while casting less limelight on certain extremely dull and out of 
interest authors. 

Mi credo, Masters, Frost, Lindsay are out of the Wild Young American 
gaze already. Williams, Loy, Moore, and the worser phenomena of Others, 
to say nothing of the highly autochthonous Amy (all over the bloody 
shop) are much more in the ' news.' 

Also, mon ami, most of my stuff must upset you nearly as much as 
Masters, don't let's beat about the bush, not that bush at any rate. Nous ne 
sommes plus mioches k pleurer. 



152: To Edgar Jepson 

London, 23 May 

Dear E.J.: That's the ticket. Thanks so much for bringing it down to the 
gist of the matter. 

I didn't want the eulogy of Eliot removed, I only wanted to save the 
space required for quoting ' La Figlia,' and the other passage already known 
to 'our readers.' 

I shall use it in the same number with four new poems of Eliot's. One 
entitled 'Sweeney Among the Nightingales' which autochs to beat hell, 
and which should raize the haar on the fretful ' Arriet. 

My thanks again for the cut-down and general compacting. 

I think it has more punch in this form. Tante grazie. 

153: To John Quinn 

London, 4 June 

Dear Quinn: More thanks for going through the proofs of Pavannes. 
You have got all the points I noted in the page-galleys, so I was right in 
not cabling about them. I enclose further documents re my attempted 
acceptance of your cabled suggestion, i.e. my attempt to cable you to call 
the appendices Tergenda, if that happened to please you. 

Jules Romains writes his thanks for 'ouvrir si largement votre revue. Je 
ne demande mieux que d'etre "french editor" comme vous me le pro- 
posez. Mais j'aimerais que vous me disiez en quoi au juste consisterait 
cette fonction, et de quoi j'aurais 4 m'occuper.' 

All of which ought to settle Orage's idiocies in this week's New Age. 

I think I gave him a bad minute over his bluff. He hasn't been in Paris for 
years, and I don't know what poet he found scoffing at even Flint or 

However, his readers will swallow it. And as for the rest of his article, it 
is his old game. Zarathustra was intended to appear in an edition of 100 
copies, afterwards countermanded to 40, and finally the author kept all 
but 8. 

R.H.C. 1 is not in literature what his papa and corporeal or actual self is 
ip Notes of the Week. 

Romains (whatever one thinks of his 'Mort de Quelqu'un') is, I think, 

1 A pen-name of A. R. Orage. 

1918— aetat 32 

the Hvest of the current French writers. He suffers less from menta 
paralysis. He couldn't have written Tarr> and he hasn't Eliot's discrimina- 
tion, but he is not a matoid. At any rate, I have seen him in the flesh, and I 
have not heard any suggestions of any better possible collaboration, now 
that de Gourmont is dead. Vildrac is too naive to 'edit.' 

Also, I think Romains will gather more people, more writers. Certainly 
he will do more than Vildrac. I tried to get Vildrac to send me French 
mss. for Poetry some years ago. Of course, there wasn't much stimulus 
and Harriet wouldn't print anything without years of delay, and only a 
page or so, but still Vildrac didn't show much hustle. 

Tailhade is over sixty, I daresay over 65. Anatole (beyond reach, and 90 
or 120). Tailhade wouldn't have done anyhow y though I'd like some of his 

I came on a volume which G. C. Cros sent me five years ago. Not 
enough mental activity there. 

Spire is excellent in spots, but there is an awful lot of rubbish in his 
books. De Bossch&re is too queer, too utterly out of touch with every- 
thing. Besides, I can see his stuff here, what there is of it, and he'd be no 
use in getting a nucleus of French writers (besides, he is not utterly 

If Griffin and Merrill hadn't been half American I don't think I should 
have mentioned them at all. Lord ! How many divergences I am putting 
down in a lump ! However, here goes. I don't think Yeats' Silentia Lunae 
hangs together. At least, I don't think it in the same street with his 
Memoirs as writing. And I find Noh unsatisfactory. I daresay it's all that 
could be done with the material. I don't believe anyone else will come along 
to do a better book on Noh, save for encyclopaedizing the subject. And I 
admit there are beautiful bits in it. But it's all too damn soft. Like Pater, 
Fiona Macleod and James Matthew Barrie, not good enough. 

I think I am justified in having spent the time I did on it, but not much 
more than that. 

In going thru James again, I find him at sea for years, between the first 
good stuff and the final achievement. Certainly the American Scene is of the 
best. The opening of A Small Boy and Others is disgusting. I think if one 
picked up James first with the beginning of that book one would be par- 
doned for never returning to him. It picks up at about page 30. 

Hueffer on James spatters on for 45 pages of unnecessary writing before 
he gets started. I think there are good things in his book. 

The notice of Joyce on the back of the February number says it is the 
continuation of 'Stephen Daedalus/ But it could just as well have been 
repeated in the March number in an editorial note. I didn't think of it. 



I mustn't get to scribbling about Henry James here. I don't believe it 
will do any good to overlook his limitations. Nor that one's praise will be 
effective if one doesn't recognize the defects, or the great stretch between 
his best and his worst. 

Meredith is, to me, chiefly a stink. I should never write on him as I 
detest him too much ever to trust myself as critic of him. The one phase of 
James that one wants to pass over is, to me, James as contemporary of 

When he isn't being a great and magnificent author, he certainly can be 
a very fussy and tiresome one. I think the main function of my essay is to 
get the really good stuff disentangled from the inferior (if one ever can do 
that for an author). 

He certainly has put America on the map. Given her a local habitation 
and a name. 

Getting back to Joyce. It still seems to me that America will never look 
anything — animal, mineral, vegetable, political, social, international, reli- 
gious, philosophical or anything else — in the face until she gets used to 
perfectly bald statements. 

That's propaganda, if you like, but it seems to me something larger 
than the question of whether Joyce writes with a certain odeur-de- 

The present international situation seems to me in no small measure due 
to the English and American habit of keeping their ostrich heads carefully 
down their little silk-lined sand-holes. 

I wrote an article on the 'situation' a couple of months ago. I am told it 
is intelligent but unprintable. Orage simply said, ' You mingle with people 
who are far too interesting. You should go to the National Liberal Club 
and learn how one intelligent remark can blast a man's whole career.' 

Oh well, one can't go back over all that. I don't care a hang for one 
matter more than another. It is the whole habit of verbally avoiding the 
issue that seems to be injurious. However, I mustn't get fanatical over it. 

The kind of thing that drives one into this state is precisely the con- 
dition of other American publications. In my Swinburne article in Poetry 
I recounted Watts-Dunton's conduct at the funeral, and his preventing an 
officious vicar from saying the burial service. Harriet deletes these six 
lines. The American public must not hear that the burial service is not 
universally respected. 

After years of this sort of puling imbecility one gets hot under the 
collar and is perhaps carried to an extreme. Even so, Harriet is much less 
an old maid than most American editors. 

Other point, re centralization of power. Certainly, for execution of war 


1 91 8— aetat 33 

measures, power ought to be centralized, and you know that I am as much 
opposed as anyone can be to any impediments to that. But this question of 
having the whole of a nation's reading held up by one man has nothing 
whatever to do with winning the war. It is a permanent state, for peace as 
much as for war. I don't think your argument holds. 

I agree with you, on the other hand, that the March number was too 

On the other hand (the suppositious and possible third hand), who is 
there apart from the group of writers we are printing who is writing or can 

Thanks again for the cheque rec'd, and for going on getting guarantors 
after you had made up your mind against it. I am more than sorry the 
annoyances have come during the very time of your illness. Hope by the 
time you get this that you will be again feeling fit. 

Pardon the appalling length of this epistle. Also forgive its general 
gloom and cantankerousness. After all, it is something to get Joyce, 
Hueffer and Lewis into one number of one magazine. 

Had a long letter from the father of all the Yeatsssssss a few weeks ago. 
Will answer him when I get time to breathe. 

154: To John Quinn 

London, 15 November 

Dear John Quinn: Will you accept the dedication of Pavannes and 
Divisions} I had intended to wait until I had some more important book to 
bear this dedication, but delays are not much in the nature of either of us, 
and, moreover, you are more intimately connected and associated in the 
making of Lustra and this book than you will be in future books, after 
Knopf is trained, or after American publication of my stuff becomes more 
or less routine. 
If you accept the dedication, just have 


John Quinn 

put on the page after the sub-title or title page, and add beneath, if the 
fancy takes you: 

Americanus non moribus 

unless you think the Americanus ought to be in the dative case. It is very 



hard to tell in case of mixing two languages whether to keep the Latin 
uninflected. On the whole, Americano is probably better. 

Wrong. Have looked up Dames' epistle to Can Grande. It should be: 

Americano natione non moribus 

Have been misquoting it for eight years. 

M(aude) G(onne) (statement from herself) did hold a meeting in Dub- 
lin to express sympathy with the Russian Bolsheviks, //'there had been 
another rising I fail to see how she would have kept out of it, etc., etc. 

She has no anti-German feelings, etc. She was released almost immedi- 
ately (a day or two, or at most, I think, three, after the medical report was 
made). The fact that she could not go to Ireland until the British had shot 
MacBride had, of course, not entered her calculations. 

Undoubtedly, Ireland tried to stab the Allies in the back, and was ready 
for another try during the spring offensive. 

And\ was ready to think Carson ought to be hung at the beginning of 
the war. But I'm hanged if I see how Ireland can demand self-determina- 
tion for herself at the same time she utterly refuses all thought of self- 
determination for Ulster. 

Etc., etc. Or why, being more or less of the party of the vanquished, she 
expects the Allies to feel toward her as they do toward their carefully con- 
stricted assistants in Czecho-Slovakia, Poland, etc. 

Thank God, I don't have to settle it. Am afraid this letter does not 
arrange its statements into very coherent order. 

However, there aren't any 'details' to be cabled more than I sent in my 
last. M.G. was under 'preventive arrest.' She was released on grounds of 
ill health, not on grounds that she was a safe person to be at large or in 

Personally, I don't think the release was obtained by a policy of worry- 
ing officials. I think the health report did it on its merits, plus a little 
amiable influence. 

The wholesale preventive arrests surely prevented another rising, and 
nothing else would have prevented it. Even now M.G. won't give any 
assurance of good behaviour if permitted to return to Dublin. 

Similar preventive arrests would have prevented the Easter rising. 

I give it up. M.G. seems as able to ignore facts in politics as W.B.Y. does 
when it comes to evidence of psychic phenomena. 

I certainly should not write her permit to return if I were responsible for 
order in Dublin. Though public order after a war is a very much less 
important thing than public order during a great campaign. 

Seagan was quite intelligent when she brought him from France but 

19 1 8— aetat 33 

the months in Ireland have ruined his mind and left him, as might be 
expected at his age, doomed to political futilities. He is a walking give- 
away of the real state of feeling there. 

South Ireland certainly ought to be expelled from the Empire, but it is 
such an infernally inconvenient naval base that !!!!!!!!!! 

So far as I can make out, M.G.'s only constructive political idea is that 
Ireland and the rest of the world should be free to be one large Donegal 
fair. She now favours a 'republic,' but she was Boulangerist in France, and 
I think they were once royalistic. Have all the Irish a monomania? M.G. is 
'reasonable' to a point, just as Yeats is on psychism, but then there comes 
the ... I suppose 'glamour.' 

I believe the Zulus or Oceanic tribes make war by marching out in 
companies and hurling invectives at each other by the hour. 

As for the 'revolution,' we have had one here during the war; quite 
orderly, in the extension of franchise. Nobody much minds there being 
several more. But there remains the temperament that wants revolution 
with violence; no special aim or objective, but just pure and platonic love of 
a row. 

Pacifists with lead-headed canes, etc. 

The other point M.G. omits from her case is that she went to Ireland 
without permit and in disguise, in the first place, during war time. 

' Conservatrice des traditions Mil&ienne,' as de Gourmont calls them. 
There are people who have no sense of the value of ' civilization' or public 

She is still full of admiration for Lenin. (I, on the other hand, have 
talked with Russians.) The sum of it being that I am glad she is out of 
gaol, and that I hope no one will be ass enough to let her get to Ireland. 

Thank God the war is mostly over. Am suffering from cold contracted 
on Monday, wandering about for hours, mostly in drizzle, to observe 
effect of armistice on the populace. 

The Allies will have to sit on the head of each individual German for the 
next eighty years and take their indemnity a pfennig at a time. 

P.S. I think the term ' fanatic' in my cable was the just one. M. does not 
seem lunatic. But I notice with Yeats he will be quite sensible till some 
question of ghosts or occultism comes up, then he is subject to a curious 
excitement, twists everything to his theory, usual quality of mind goes. So 
with M.G. For example, she twists the burning of the posters on the Nelson 
column into an anti-monarchic demonstration. Says they were King's 
Fund posters. Now, I happened to see the kids tearing off strips of that 
canvas for the fun of burning something when their fireworks ran out. 
Same way they burnt gun carriages a few nights later. 



M. wholly neglects the crowds cheering in front of Buckingham Palace, 
or the general enthusiasm for George on his drive through the drizzle in an 
open carriage, with no escort save a couple of cops. Poor devil was looking 
happy, I should think, for the first time in his life. I happened to be in 
Piccadilly about two feet from the carriage. 

It is a great pity, with all her charm, that the mind twists everything 
that goes into it, on this particular subject (just like Yeats on his ghosts). 

Heaven knows, I may have a touch of it myself re Xtianity, but I try to 
control it, and it is really a development of the belief that most of the 
tyrannies of modern life, or a least a lot of stupidities, are based on Xtn 
taboos, and can't really be got rid of radically until Xtianity is taken lightly 
and sceptically, until, that is, it drifts back into the realm of fairy-lore and 
picturesque superstition (mostly unpicturesque, at present). 

I think the Theatre, Yeats, Synge and Company, had developed a wide 
sympathy for Ireland, which the revolutionaries have wiped utterly away. 

155: To Marianne Moore 

London, 16 December 

Dear Miss Moore: The confounded trouble is that I have come to the end 
of my funds, and can not pay for any more mss. for The Little Review. 

I think the poems too good to print without paying for them: I know 
you have contributed to The Egoist unpaid. And I have myself done a deal 
of unpaid work: too much of it. 

I hope to start a quarterly here before long (part of the funds are in 
hand); and to be able to pay contributors: at least to pay them something; 
and to give them the satisfaction of being in good company. I will eidier 
hold over your two poems for the quarterly and try to pay; or print them 
in The L.R. ... as you choose or permit. 

There are one or two details I should like to ask about. (Yeats and Eliot 
and various other people have had similar queeries leveled at them, and our 
friendships have weathered the strain, so don't take it ill of me.) 

? Are you quite satisfied with the final cadence and graphic arrangement 
of same in * A Graveyard ' ? The ends of the first two strophes lead into the 
succeeding strophe, rightly. The ending 

'it is 

neither with volition nor consciousness 9 

closes the thing to my ear. Perhaps you will find a more drastic change 
suits you better. I do not offer an alternative as dogma or as a single and 


1918— aetat 33 

definite possibility. Very likely you are after a sound-effect which escapes 
me. But I don't quite see what it is, and I know that a critic often finds the 
wrong point in a verse when he can not say why it is wrong, and when his 
first proposals regarding it are useless. 

Comme on est ridicule. I have copied your own order, instead of the 
thing that came into my head this p.m., namely: 'Consciousness nor 

Hang'd if I now know which I thought better. But I think the eye 
catches either cadence rather better if you break the line at is. 

I haven't analysed the metric of the whole; but find it satisfactory. 

I want to know, relatively, your age, and whether you are working on 
Greek quantitative measures or on Rene Ghil or simply by ear (if so a very 
good ear). 

In 'Old Tiger': 

I am worried by 'intentioned.' It is 'not English'; in French it is inten- 
tionndy and I have no objection to gallicisms if done with distinction, and 
obviously and intentionally gallicisms for a purpose. But 'intentioned' is 
like a lot of words in bad American journalese, or like the jargon in philo- 
sophical text-books. It is like a needless file surface (to me — and will upset 
the natives here much more than it does me). You know, possibly, that I 
don't mind the natives' feelings, but I think when giving offence one 
should always be dead right, not merely defensible. 

Pneumatic is le mot juste, but Eliot has just preempted it in Grishkin's 
'pneumatic bliss.' This is not a final argument, but in so close a circle (you 
are in it willy-nilly, by the mere fact of writing verse for the members of 
the reading public capable of understanding). Also T.S.E. has jaguar'd — 
quite differently, but still ... we must defend the camp against the outer- 

T.S.E. first had his housemaids drooping like the boas in my ' Millwins,' 
and it was only after inquisition of this sort that he decided, to the im- 
provement of his line, to have them sprout. 

(Atque: I am rejecting imitators of T.S.E. who would be only too ready 
to rend anyone they might think at their preserve.) In the words of W.L. 
send us one to catch our fleas. 

Do you want 'its self or 'itself at the end of 12 strophe? There is a 
slight, or rather a very considerable, difference. Whether the tail has a 
metaphorical 0t/#cij inside it. 

And as for 'peacock': is it the best word? It means peacock-green??? 
Or peacock-blue or p.b. green? Peacock has feet and other colours such as 
brown in its ensemble? ? ? 

Also when you break words at end of line, do you insist on caps, at 



beginning of next line? Greeks didn't, nor does Ghil. Not categorical 
inhibition, but .... 

Now, to be more amiable, have you a book of verse in print? And, if 
not, can I get one into print for you? My last and best work Proper tius has 
just dodged two publishers, one of whom wants to print half the book, 
leaving out the best of it. Dopo tarn* anni, I am not yet in the position of a 
Van Dyke or a Tennyson; but still, I have got Joyce, and Lewis, and Eliot 
and a few other comforting people into print, by page and by volume. At 
any rate, I will buy a copy of your book if it is in print, and if not, I want 
to see a lot of it all together. You will never sell more than five hundred 
copies, as your work demands mental attention. I am inclined to think 
you would 'go* better in bundles about the size of Eliot's Prufrock and 

For what it is worth, my ten or more years of practice, failure, success, 
etc. in arranging tables of contents, is & votre service. Or at any rate unless 
you have a definite scheme for a sequence, I would warn you of the very 
great importance of the actual order of poems in a booklet. (I have gone 
right and gone wrong in this at one time or another and know the results.) 

Your stuff holds my eye. Most verse I merely slide off of (God I do ye 
thank for this automatic selfprotection), but my held eye goes forward 
very slowly, and I know how simple many things appear to me which 
people of supposed intelligence come to me to have explained. — / — / 

Thank God, I think you can be trusted not to pour out flood (in the 
manner of dear Amy and poor Masters). 

I wish I knew how far I am right in my conjecture of French influence; 
you are nearer to Ghil than to Laforgue, whose name 1 think I used in The 
Future. My note in the L.R. was possibly better. 

O what about your age; how much more youngness is there to go into 
the work, and how much closening can be expected ? 

And what the deuce of your punctuation? I am puzzled at times: How 
much deliberate, and therefore to be taken (by me) with studious meticu- 
lousness?? How much the fine careless rapture and therefore to be pot- 
shotted at until it assumes an wholly demonstrable or more obvious Tight- 

Anyhow I will keep the poems for my quarterly unless you want to 
have them rushed into the L.R. at once, and unless you have something 
better for the Quarterly. No reason which they shouldn't appear simul- 
taneously in both (only it will be the quarterly's proposed and hoped-for 
purse that will pay). 

And are you a jet black Ethiopian Othello-hued, or was that line in one 
of your Egoist poems but part of your general elaboration and allegory 


19 1 8— aetat 33 

and designed to differentiate your colour from that of the surrounding 

I can't fit in the prose paragraph anywhere, so return it Or rather, no. I 
will hold it and give it to the Egoist, if you so direct. 

Do you see any signs of mental life about you in New York? I still 
retain curiosities and vestiges of early hopes, though I doubt if I will ever 
return to America, save perhaps as a circus. 

How much of your verse is European? How much Paris is in it? This is, 
I think, legitimate curiosity on my part. If I am to be your editor, and as I 
am still interested in the problem of how much America can do on her 
own. (Political divisions not mattering in the ultimate, but . . .) 

I oughtn't to be too lazy to analyze your metric; but ... I very often 
don't analyze my own until years after. . . . And time, and one's energy. 
... At any rate, it is (yr. metric) a progress on something I (more or less, 
so far as English goes) began. . . . Whether my beginnings had anything to 
do with yr. metric is another matter. Only I am curious. 

Syllabic, in stanzas, same shape per stanza. 

1st work written A.D. ? ? ? 

1 st work published ? ? ? ? 

Answers not for publication in small biographical note, as used in 

At any rate, the quarterly if it comes off offers you a spiritual roof or 
habitation; question of its being domus, home, hearth, must be left to you. 

Does your stuff 'appear' in America? 

1 j 6: To Harriet Shaw Weaver 

London, 17 December 

Dear Miss Weaver: With the cost of printing soaring, and the Egoist 
having to retrench at all points, as I understand it is, I do not feel that the 
cost of keeping the type of this series standing, plus the probable cost of 
printing the booklet, would be justified, or that the interest in the series is 
likely to make the cash return sure enough to justify your reprinting it. 

I mean to publish the stuff, without much revision, in my next prose 
volume, anyhow. And if The Egoist has any money to spare I should 
much rather see it go to printing a book like Prufrock, by some new poet. 
I believe I have one in sight. 

I don't mean Mike* Prufrock, but simply an interesting book of poems 



of that size. And the printing of it would be of more literary interest than a 
reprint of these essays, which will ultimately be reprinted anyway. 

They were hurriedly concluded during the week I thought I was to be 
rushed out to Persia; I don't say they were spoiled but ... I don't on the 
other hand feel them quite final. 



157: To William Carlos Williams 

London, 28 January 

My Dear Old Sawbukk von Grump: How are your adenoids? Am 
rejoicing in vacancy; prose collection 1 'finished', committed to the gaping 
maw of the post office; and I freed of its weight. Haven't heard from you 
since the pig died. — / — / 

Lewis' new show opening Thursday, etc. Manning again in circulation. 

All sorts of 'projects' artoliteresque in the peaceconferentialbolshevi- 
kair. Switzerland bursting into Dadaique Manifestos re the nothingness of 
the All. 

Fat Madox Hueffer in last evening; Aldington at 'front,' educating 
Tommies; Wadsworth and Lewis in town, more or less free. 

I think it might be worth while for you to send me any mss. you have 
by you; there are several schemes in the air re quarterly and re a weekly; 
and something or other will probably start. There is the banked water of 
several years during which paper restrictions forbade starting of new 
periodicals; I think something will start. Can't yet say which or what; was 
offered a salary two days ago; but that is too wild a fantasy. At any rate 
shd. like to have some of your stuff by me in case of emergency. Mgr said 
the first number of a weekly wd. appear in March . . . but words of 

Am reprinting note on you from Future in next prose vol. which Knopf 
says he is bringing out this autumn. 

Did a longer note for an American paper which cut down its size on 
receipt of article, which latter is still floating about in my progenitor's 
possession. Don't know that you will like it; but I did go so far as to say 
you weren't a matoid. 

Are you capable of doing quarterly notes (1000 words say per three 
months) on American publications???? Or is there anybody in the great 
pure prohibition monarchy capable of writing brief summary criticism of 
contemporary abortions ? 

1 Instigations. 


158: To H. L. Mencken 

London^ ({January) 

Dear Mencken: Thanks for your Apologia pro Mulieribus. 1 It is so good 
that even my belle-m&re, a charming memorial of the XVIIIth Century, 
has read it with enjoyment. 

What is wrong with it, and with your work in general is that you have 
drifted into writing for your inferiors. . . . Inevitable I think where one is 
in contact with a public. 

When you escape . . . and the time now seemeth not so far distant, I 
think you will begin your real work. (Damn'd cheek on my part to say 
so?) Still, on the island of Patmos with no early Christians to exhort, your 
style would solidify. 

Am inclined to think the book the best of your stuff I have seen. 

Have made by paragraph 2 fairly bald, but take it for what it is worth. 
No use my flapping about with amiable inanities. We have all sinned 
through trying to make the uneducated understand things. Certainly you 
will lose a great part of your public when you stop trying to civilize the 
waste places; and you will gain about fifteen readers. 

'The first post bellum boat* ought to sail fairly soon now, and I hope 
to see you as soon as mines have passed away. (O roll dem mines 

159: To Marianne Moore 

London, 1 February 
The female is a chaos, 
the male 

is a fixed point of * stupidity ', but only the female 
can content itself with prolonged conversation 
with but one sole other creature of its own sex 
and of its own unavoidable species 

the male 

is more expansive 

and demands other and varied contacts; 

1 In Defense of Women. 

19 19 — aetat 33 

hence its combativeness, 

hence its discredit for * taking up cudgels* 

hence its utter failure to receive credit 

for the ninety and nine unjust times 

when it refrained from taking up cudgels 

andtfas done in the eye 

by the porcine and uncudgeled circumbelliferous; 


the debacle of its temper, 


its slow recovery and recuperance from the y alter janders 

hence also its more widespread insistencies, 

hence its exposure to stings and mud-slings of the 

ungodly and unco-decorous 

etc. and ad infinitum 

1— 1— 

Zagreus at the door of the parsonage, 

Keeping a carbon copy. * We must not* 

writes a contemporary Church of England theological author 

1 give up Parthenogenesis; it is the outpost of Incarnation * 

((Custer's last fight for the Trinity/ 

Eight inch sans-serif on the posters 

' O gawddeont dew bi^niss thaat waye! ')) 

' St. Paul was a Gentleman 9 

* no reflection 
on the habits of your particular family 
but they are not alone in their clerical functions. I have seen 
Savonarola still swinging a crucifix, 
down from Said for the week-end of exhorting 
the back-sliders of Venice; and the Reverend Cavaliere Dottore 

Robertson denouncing the Babylonian woman 
and the Rrrroman releegion 

with fervour::: O my Christ with fervour and sincerity 
and conviction. I have seen 

the inhibitions of seventeen sects 

and the dangers of national internationalism, Eloi, Eloi. 

(Also Voltaire on the Elohim) 
and the wilderness will not be healed 
o 209 


either byfletcherbpng or by a diet of locusts. 
Splendours of vintages; 
Guido in accented iambics* 

Ch&re Marianne: So much for the Muses (precedent). 

The rest of your statements are 'satisfactory.' No one could be 'wholly 
in sympathy' with The Little Review any more than I could be wholly in 
sympathy with Lewis: my only contention is that genius ought to exist, 
and that all publications should not exclude it. 

I also made early attempts at that desiccation The Atlantic. Even The 
Egoist would not have been there, i.e., attending to contemporary poetry 
or printing your works save but for my cudgels. And I have got some 
decent stuff into print: The Portrait of the Artist, and other things. 

As Richard said only six weeks ago (re Poetry): 'It's that on the cover 
that has beaten you. If you could have got that off (the silly quotation 
third-truth from Whitman) you could have made something of it.' 

Now, one buys leisure to work by selling one's stuff for what one can. 
Harriet (Monroe) is too old to learn. Thank heaven I have conducted 
some of her funds to a few authors who needed emolument. 

I have repeatedly resigned. And it took a six months' struggle to get her 
to print Eliot's 'Prufrock.' 

I have nothing but my name on the cover. And the prospects of a very 
mutilated piece of my Propertius appearing in her paper, because it would 
be criminal for me to refuse £10/10; and because it don't matter. It don't 
matter in the least what appears or does not appear in that magazine. The 
elect will see, ultimately, the English publication of the series. 

(All of which is for your ear and no other. The woman is honest, and 
can not help her obfuscations.) 

American painting and sculpture are proportionately no better than 
American writing, only painters are comparatively unknown, i.e., all the 
creators of new expression. They have a chance to make almost fortunes, 
but they lead private and secret careers (you can't lead a career, but 
passons). Their works exist almost in secret. 

You are probably right in so far as American imitators of earlier (1880) 
European painters are more thorough than American authors (don't 
know). Must let it alone (I must). Must return to the unconcern with 
U.S.A. that I had before 191 1-12. 

Private life, i.e. seclusion, 'possible* in America; public, or printed, 
existence impossible. Etc. 

Shall probably want to print 'Scalpels' here also. Pre-publication in 
B.M. Lantern no deterrent. 


1 9 19 — aetat 33 

?? Whether both it and predestined carrot haven't weak endings. 
Attention to strophic shape??? Kept your eye off main structure??? This 
merely a caution or instigation. 

Statement possibly firmer than a question at end of ' Scalpels.' 

Will not give hurried 'judgment' about your revisions in other poems. 
Must think them over. 

Definiteness of your delineations is delicious, in all the austerity of that 
much abused term. Can't have it lost. Must go on with it, you must. Thank 
God you don't tend to burble or to produce ' four epics' in one vol. as per 
last ad. of Amy. 

(Was disappointed with the poem in L.R.; ergo relieved on receipt of 
your paragraph regarding it.) Etc. 

160: To A. R. Orage 1 

London, {? April) 

Dear A.R.O.: Here is the slam. The Chicago Tribune cut it somewhat but 
not in essentials. My points being: 

That there was never any question of translation, let alone literal trans- 
lation. My job was to bring a dead man to life, to present a living figure. 

As a Prof, of Latin and example of why Latin poets are not read, as 
example of why one would like to deliver poets of philologers, Hale should 
be impeccable and without error. He has no claim to refrain from suicide 
if he errs in any point. 

(Don't imagine this is any use.) 

i. He ignores English. 

' Their Punic faces dyed in the Gorgon 9 s lake* 

one of my best lines. Punic (Punicus) used for dark red, purple red by 
Ovid and Horace as well as Propertius. Audience familiar with Tyrian for 
purple in English. To say nothing of augmented effect on imagination by 
using Punic (whether in translation or not) instead of red.' 

i. Hale pretends to read Latin, but has apparently never understood any- 
thing but syntax and never seen the irony of Propertius, this from general 
tone of his note. 

1 This letter was first written to A. R. Orage, with the note 'You might save 
this for me'. At a later date the letter was redirected as follows: 'Dear E.W. 
<?Ernest Walsh): Here is the attack, and here are some points I pointed at the 
time ere I reflected that it was scarcely suitable for me to do so/ 



3. As for * trace of decadent meaning': he writes as if intending to con- 
vey meaning that it is not in Propertius. 

Does the Drive to Lanuvium contain trace of gentle raillery to be found 
in my 'distortion' of the ' tacta puella'? 

4. Precisely what I do not do is to translate the in as if it negatived the 
solito. IF I was translating, I (would) have translated solito (accustomed) 
by a commentary, giving * when they have got over the strangeness* as an 
equivalent, or rather emphasis of 'accustomed.' Absolutely the contrary of 
taking my phrase, as the ass Hale does, for the equivalent of unaccustomed. 
He can't read English. 

5. Re the ' punic' faces. It may instruct Hale to tell him that the Teubner 
text (printed 1898) uses Punica with a cap. P, especially emphasizing the 
Latin usage of proper name in place of a colour adjective. I.e., the Teubner 
editor is emphasizing a Latinism which I have brought over. He is not 
allowing the connection of the proper name with a particular dark red to 
drift into a uncapitalized adjective. 

6. Mask of erudition is precisely what I have not assumed; it is precisely 
what I have thrown on the dust heap. 

Re decadence: We all know Propertius went to mid-week prayer 

And as for accuracy, what are we to say to the bilge of rendering 
'puella' by the mid- Victorian pre-Raphaelite slush of romanticistic 'my 

What of Propertius' delicate use of 'nostra,' meaning 'my' as well as 
'our,' but in a stylist how delicately graduated against 'mihi' by Proper- 
tius. Heine's poem ending, 'Madame, ich Hebe Sie' is clumsy in com- 

Do him the justice to say that the bloody Marcian aquaduct is very very 
familiar, and that it was a thing I might very well have remembered. That 
is, confess to forgetting something as familiar to Romans as the Croton 
damm is to New Yorkers. But even the Croton damm may be forgotten in 

Also old brute only saw 1, 2, 3, and 6. But his plaidoyer for translation 
of letter and deathdealing to the spirit needs kicking. 

Real poetry!!! Gosh. Look at that Bohn 'Marcian flow.' Exactly the 
phrase Propertius wd. have used if living today and writing English (not 

If possible 1 shd. even have wished to render a composite character, 
including something of Ovid, and making the portrayed figure not only 
Propertius but inclusive of the spirit of the young man of the Augustan 
Age, hating rhetoric and undeceived by imperial hog-wash. 

1919 — aetat 33 

P.S. On closer inspection of the full text as in Poetry •, I find he is worse 
than in the Tribune which was all I had really read before I began to write 
this for you. 

I note that my translation 'Devirginated young ladies' etc. is as literal, 
or rather more so than his. I admit to making the puella (singular) into 
plural 'young ladies.' It is a possible figure of speech as even the ass 
admits. Hale, however, not only makes the ' girl ' into ' my lady/ but he has 
to supply something for her to be ' touched by' Instead of allowing her to be 
simply tacta (as opposed to virgo intactd), he has to say that she is touched 

(not, oh my god, no not by the of the poet, but by 'my 

words'). Vide his own blessed parentheses. 

If I were, however, a professor of Latin in Chicago, I should probably 
have to resign on divulging the fact that Propertius occasionally copulavit, 
i.e. rogered the lady to whom he was not legally wedded. 

161: To John Quinn 

London, 25 October 

Dear Quinn: Quia Pauper Amavi is at last out. Eliot has done a dull but, I 
think, valuable puff in the Athenaeum] granite wreaths, leaden laurels, no 
sign of exhilaration; but I daresay it is what is best in that quarter. 

He has shown in earlier articles the 'English Department* universitaire 
attitude: literature not something enjoyable, but something which 
your blasted New England conscience makes you feel you ought to 

Have had two opulent weeks as dramatic critic on The Outlook, and 
have been fired in most caddish possible manner. Have had my work 
turned down by about every editor in England and America, but have 
never before felt a desire for vengeance. Circumstances too dull to narrate; 
but if you do see a chance for doing that rotten paper, its editor or owners, 
an ill turn I hope you will do so, in memoriam. 

Orage is, of course, willing to do anything he can for me. I don't know 
whether there is any way of increasing his U.S. A. circulation. He is ready 
to give me two pages a week for myself. I had, as a matter of fact, three 
things in last issue; only he simply hasn't the funds to pay like the punk 
papers. And one simply can't afford to rewrite and properly compress stuff 
for his rates. 



France is worse. The Mercure pays 4 francs per page for prose and 
nothing for verse. 

Have just done an article, by request, for France-Amirique; pay better 
than the Mercure, at any rate. 

Vanderpyl offers me space in LArbitraire, but it will cost him heavily 
to print English in Paris, and he has no funds for contributors. I can't see 
the thing as practical. 

One Desfeuilles is very enthusiastic about Noh and wants to translate 
it; but I don't make out whether he has a publisher or whether the pub- 
lisher * would like to publish but .' 

Lewis* portrait of me was on the way to being excellent when I last saw 
it; have not seen the final form of it yet, but hope to at the Goupil. 

Nina Hamnett has greatly improved. Great persistence for a female. 

Last ms. chapter of Joyce perhaps the best thing he has done. I don't 
mean the last one to appear in Little Review, but the one I have just for- 
warded. Parody of styles, a trick borrowed from Rabelais, but never done 
better, even in Rab. 

Our James is a grrreat man. I hope to God there is a foundation of truth 
in the yarn he wrote me about a windfall. Feel he may have done it just to 
take himself off my mind. 



i6i: To T. E. Lawrence 

London, 20 April 

My Dear Hadji ben Abt el Bakshish, Prince de Mecque, Two-S worded 
Samurai, Old Bird, Young Bird, Magister (?) Artium, etc. et quid tibi 
licet, libet, decet, lubet, etc.: Thou hast in thee an exceeding hot, intemper- 
ate, swift and precipitate manner of judging thy fellowe men, and in the 
present case mightest have weighed against six or eight pages of BLAST 
the dozen or more volumes and thousand or more scattered pages of my 
other labours and opusculi. 

The Dial is an aged and staid publication which I hope, rather rashly, to 
ginger up to something approaching the frenetic wildness of The 
Athenaeum. They are much more afraid of me than you are. 

Also I don't care a saffron .... whether you use your own name or not; 
only if you don't you will be under the shameful and ignominious neces- 
sity of writing something which will interest the editor. 

Can you * write ' ? Of course, having vortex'd a large section of Arabia 
you are fed up with vortices; but why reprove me, who have merely 
created a market for one or two artists and got a half dozen good books 
into print despite John Murray, Sir G. Macmillan e questa puttazaia? 

, When you say you want to write for money, what do you mean 
4 money' ? Lord Macaulay's rates or the fees I pick up by force of necessity 
to pay my rent? The latter can't be called 'money', but if you want to 
sweat in an abysmally paid profession I think I can supply you with two 
London editors who wouldn't insist on your using your cinema sign. 

In sending copy to America, let me caution you to use an incognito as 
well as a pseudonym. Thayer is, I think, quite decent (he is The Dial), but 
I trust an American publication about as far as I wd. trust a British govern- 
ment; my bright compatriots are quite capable of printing an article by 
Mr. Smith and then printing a leetle note at the end of the number saying 
4 The article by Mr. Smith is really written by the distinguished Sheik- 
tamer and Tiger-baiter etc., who for reasons of modesty has concealed 
himself 'neath the ridiculous name of Smith- Yapper.' 

If you want to write about Arabia, I cd. simply write to N.Y. that I was 



getting copy from the one man who knows, or you cd. get a written pro- 
mise from Thayer not to reveal your identity. I shd. prefer not to be instru- 
mental in publishing anything likely to incite either Moslems or Xtns. to 
further massacres etc. 

The songs of the desert might be safer. My notes on Elizabethan 
Classicists are considered 'too technical' for the Dial readers. 

I have just taken the job and can't, Pm afraid, give you much indication 
of what they do want, save that I am asked to provide 'em with Mrs. 
Meynell, Lowes Dickinson, Lytton Strachey, Yeats, Eliot, myself in 
homeopathic (very) doses, etc. 

Hope to see you in August if not before. Shall be back here in Aug. 
Suppose you'll have spent your quarterly allowance and retired to Oxford 
by then. 

163: To John Quinn 

Paris, 19 June 

Dear John Quinn: I came out of Italy on a tram-car, and reckon the next 
man will come out in a cab. 

Joyce finally got to Sirmione; don't yet know whether he has got back 
to Trieste. Strike started half an hour after I got to Milan, and many trains 
stopped where they were at the stroke of 12. 

Joyce — pleasing; after the first shell of cantankerous Irishman, I got the 
impression that the real man is the author of Chamber Music, the sensitive. 
The rest is the genius; the registration of realities on the temperament, the 
delicate temperament of the early poems. A concentration and absorption 
passing Yeats' — Yeats has never taken on anything requiring the conden- 
sation of Ulysses. 

Also great exhaustion, but more constitution than I had expected, and 
apparently good recovery from eye operation. 

He is coming up here later; long reasons, but justified in taking a rest 
from Trieste. 

He is, of course, as stubborn as a mule or an Irishman, but I failed to 
find him at all unreasonable. Thank God, he has been stubborn enough to 
know his job and stick to it. 

Re his personal arrangements, etc., all seems clear in light of conver- 

He is also dead right in refusing to interrupt his stuff by writing stray 


192a— aetat 34 

articles for cash. Better in the end, even from practical point of view. Also 
justified in sticking it out in Trieste, at least for the present. Both climate 
and other considerations. 

In the stories of his early eccentricities in Dublin, I have always thought 
people neglected the poignant feature, i.e., that his 'outrageous* remarks 
were usually so. 

His next work will go to the Dial, but he should rest after Ulysses. 

Linati, translator of Synge and Joyce, is to send Italian notes to Dial and 
beat up contributors. He seems sensible. Don't expect very much from 
Italy. Or from Spain. Have just written to Unamuno. 

Here I suspect the war is still effective. Impression the people are being 
affable to each other (in literary circles) in hope of maintaining the illusion 
that Paris is still the hub of the universe. However, have only been here 
3 days and may yet dig up something of mild interest. 

After Gaudier, Lewis, Joyce, one wants something a bit meaty to excite 

164: To James Joyce 

London, (? June) 

Dear Joyce: I enclose letter from Quinn, which you need not of neces- 
sity read. Point is that 'Nausikaa' has been pinched by the po-lice. Only 
way to get Ulysses printed in book form, will be to agree not to print any 
more of it in the L.R. 

I had already made this suggestion on other ground, namely that the 
expensive private edition planned by Quinn wd. have wider sale if it con- 
tained final chapters which had not already appeared in L.R. 

Also in Paris I did, I think, explain to you that M.A. and jh had not 
spent any money on you. I got the original trifle that was sent you, and the 
printing deficits were paid by J.Q., and in general the editrices have merely 
messed and muddled, never to their own loss. 

The best thing to do, now that things have come to present pass, is to 
turn the whole matter over to Quinn. He is on the spot and both will and 
can deal with local conditions better than we can from here. 

The excuse for parts of Ulysses is the whole of Ulysses; the case for 
publication of bits of it serially is weak; the editrices having sent copy to 
someone who hadn't asked for it further weakens case. 

Anyhow, the only thing to be done now is to give Quinn an absolutely 



free hand. His cable address is QUINLEX, New York; and you will have 
to cable your full authorization to him at once if it is to arrive in time. 


New York 
As you have said — ' No country outside of Africa' wd. permit it. 

\6y. To Hugh Walpole 

London j 30 June 

But Bleeding Christ! Mr. Walpole: That is precisely what you shouldn't 
have done; and which if you didn't you shouldn't dash my hopes by pro- 
fessing to have accomplished. 

The Dial (or the past months has been too confounded dull to be born, 
it has been no better than the London Mercury or the Athenaeum or a 
dozen and one of these other mortuaries for the entombment of dead fecal 

One hopes, with a flicker aroused by my past month in Paris (as witness 
the opposite column of names) to have in time a paper which an intelli- 
gent being can read. 

And in the hope that your politeness has got the better of your candid 
opinion, I shall be very glad if you help in labour of making it so. Only do 
make it suitable to the 1.920-2 1 Dial, not to last year's or last month's. 
With of course the damn'd postal censorship of the U.S. as a limit to 
vocabulary; I don't mean that sex is an asset either. 

166: To James Joyce 

London, {f July) 

Dear James: News item or rather phrase of conversation from ex-govt. 
official: 'The censorship was very much troubled by it (Ulysses) during 
die war. Thought it was all code.' 

167: To T. E. Lawrence 

London, {? August) 

Dear T.E.L.: Being neither a Christian, nor an Oxonian, nor even an 
Englishman, the idea that people 'ought not to exist on one earth* merely 
because they differ one from the other is strange to me. 


192a— aetat 34 

Doubtless you have very bad taste; not that I mind the romantic, or 
even the academic and idyllic, if they can be found free of mental paralysis. 

Still ... I have already sent over to N. Y. one hundred delicious pages of 
Manning, which I hope will in due course be printed; and Conrad has said 
he will probably send on something some day or other, but has too many 
unfilled promises hanging over him to make any more; and two stories (or 
somethings) by D. H. Lawrence have been accepted . . . through no parti- 
cular fault of my own save that I asked Aldington to ask D.H.L. to send 
'em in. 

And Aldington gets steadily worse because he writes in the Times every 
week. What can be expected !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (these by request, as you'd 
feel lonely if I didn't use 'em, in order that the skripture shd. be fillfulled). 

I suppose I'd even print Hodgson (whom I like personally very 
much) . . . chief danger wd. be going to sleep between here and the pillar- 
box if I had a ms. of his in my hand. Tel est le pouvoir. . . . 

Is Yeats any worse than the last volume of Conrad's? 

As for idyllic and romantic — thought they were W.B.Y.'s particular 
line. Howsomever! 

168: To James Joyce 

London, 2 August 

My dear Joyce: You are probably cursing me for not taking more direct 
action. I enclose both Huebsch and another epistle, i.e. from Athenaeum to 
myself, re what shd. have been my chief local asset, and which was (fu) my 
chief cash reason for return to this brass-bound clay-hummock. 

Kindly return same. Modest mensuality amounting roughly to £ 120 
per annum. Of course I shall welcome the leisure. 

Equally of course I never had the faintest belief in Huebsch paying 
£££ advance on mss. he hadn't seen; whatever he or anyone else might 
have written about it. 

Re your letter before last. I shall take it as an extremely unfriendly act if 
you instruct your damn solicitors to do anything of the sort; which wd. be 
pure imbecility on the one hand, you being sure to need the cash three 
weeks later; and damn'd unpleasant of you on the other, as I should like to 
make at least that small contribution to the running expenses of Ulysses. 

If you find your circle kantankerrrrous, you might also reflect upon the 
fact that Murray wrote me two letters while I was in Paris, and might con- 



ceivably have included in one of them the news so amiably conferred in 
his of 27th ult., as it wd. have only 'ave clouded the last Parisian hours. 

I don't on the hole despair of hitting another couple of small bunches 
between now an* Sept. 25. 

Rodker was delighted to see you, but his wife is in an interestin' con- 
dition and I suppose they are savin' for the layette. However, he offers to 
give an imprint to Ulysses if the Egoist will provide the £ for the actual 
printing somewhere else, which may possibly be a solution, though I think 
American printing is the most economical way out of the difficulty. By 
printing near the sea-board the work can be legally exported. 

Eliot leaves for France, via Paris, on about Aug. 15. 

169: To James Joyce 

London, 1 September 

Dear Joyce: (You can forward this note to Dr. Ferrieri.) 1 strongly re- 
commend that Rodker be asked to do the article on English literature. 
There are only a very few decent critics with ' tendenze moderne.' Neither 
Hueffer nor Eliot are to be had free, and both are very busy. I have 
recently said my say in Instigations besides doing articles on state of litera- 
ture in England for French and Spanish magazines. Rodker will take more 
trouble, and be more interested in writing the article than any of the rest of 

Dr. Ferrieri's article has been translated I think quite well, I will know 
when it comes back from the typist, as I can't be expected to read hand- 
writing, life is too short. Am sending the article to New York as soon as it 
comes in from typist. 

Regards to Sig. Ferrieri and Linati. 

Hope your news is all good. 

170: To William Carlos Williams 

[The three Utters following were written on receipt of Williams 9 Kora in 
Hell: Improvisations, in the* Prologue' to which Williams writes that Pound 
is % the best enemy United States verse has' Indeed, the entire prologue is an 
attack, through Williams, by the American school as then represented by him- 


1920— aetat 34 

self, Sandburg, Bodenheim and Kreymborg on the international school, as 
represented by Pound and Eliot* It is, perhaps, the best American attack on 
' exoticism ' in letters.] 

London, 1 1 September 

My dear old Hugger-scrunch: Un po' di giustizia ! ! Or rather: you're a 
liar. Precisely I am an 'enemy of American verse.' 

That I sweated like a nigger to break up the clutch of the old 

Harper's, etc. That I tried to enlighten Chicago, so as to make 

a place for the real thing. That I sent over French models, which have 
given six hundred people a means of telling something nearer the truth 
than they would have done senza. That I imported U.S. stuff here, to the 
prejudice of my own comfort (remember I have only what I get by my 

And on the contrary, some evidence that I have ever cursed anything 
but the faults of American verse. Produce it, you old village cut-up. 

That Jep. is not a fountain of wisdom I admit, but he was a good bolus 
(or a bad bolus). 1 But at any rate there was no one else whose time wasn't 
too valuable to waste on trying to penetrate Harriet's crust. That silly old 

she-ass with her paeons for bilge . . . not, , that she matters, 

but every page of the magazine that goes to bad stuff is just that much lost 
to honest work. 

You lay back, you let me have the whole stinking sweat of providing 
the mechanical means for letting through the new movement, i.e. scrap for 
the mot juste, for honest clear statement in verse. Then you punk out, 
cursing me for not being in two places at once, and for 'seeing no alterna- 
tive to my own groove.' 2 Which is bilge, just sloppy inaccurate bilge. And 
you can * take it back' when you get round to doing so. 

You get various people who might be honest, who might do a bit of 

1 Edgar Jepson (vide Letters No. 151 and 1 52, p. 194) had written an attack on 
the Poetry (Chicago) prizes, especially those of 1916 and had used such terms as 
'cumbrous artificiality', 'lumbering fakement', and 'slip-shod, rank bad work- 
manship of a man who has shirked his job' in describing the work of Vachel 
Lindsay, Constance Lindsay Skinner and others. But his main argument wa6 
that such work was nothing new; Eliot's work, however, he saw as something 
new in American poetry. Williams then indicates that Eliot is only a rehash of 
Verlaine, Baudelaire and Maeterlinck and Pound of Provence and modern 
French: 'Men content with the connotations of their masters.' 

2 'I praise those who have the wit and courage, and the conventionality, to go 
direct toward their vision of perfection in an objective world where the signposts 
are already marked, viz., to London. But confine them in hell for their paretic 
assumption that there is no alternative but their own groove.' Kora in Hell, p. 25. 



good work, flattered to hell like Masters, or pouring their stuff into leaky 
jars for want of someone to tell 'em to plug the leaks, and then when I do, 
you say I am a plugger, and that I plug, and that left to myself I would 
plug the mouth of the jar before the booze is put in, and vend the vacuous 

Not that I care a curse for any nation as such or that, so far as I know, I 
have ever suggested that I was trying to write U.S. poetry (any more than 
you are writing Alexandrine Greek bunk, to conform to the ideas of that 
refined, charming, and utterly narrow minded she-bard ' H.D.'). 

Neither do I have the spinsterly aversion k la Marianne from tutto che 
nonmepiace. 1 

Can be, on the other hand, quite as stubborn as you are; if choose to 
write about decaying empire, will do so, and be damned to you. But can't 
see that it constitutes enmity to your work or to that of anyone else who 
writes honestly, whether in U.S. or Nigeria. 

Amy Lowell's perfumed would be putrid even if it had been 

done by a pueblo Indian, or written on the highest pinnacle of Harriet's 
buggerin rocky mts. 

It is curious, that with the relics of what I suppose was not [sic] a scien- 
tific education you can't understand the spirit of research; even research 
into something so dead as a complicated aesthetic of sound . . . which ain't 
dead in the least, though I dare say the canzone is too mummified to walk 
on its pins ever again. 

Also whether I am better alive here, or dead, as I should have been from 
starvation if I hadn't had the remains of primitive animal instinct to 'run' 
... is a problem which you can answer ace. cons. 

Have I ever, on the other hand, tried to pass ofFEng. punk on my com- 
patriots? Have I sent you the dry dung of the Georgians, or the wet dung 
of the London Murkury ? 

Have you the adumbrations of intelligence enough to know that the 
critical faculty which can pick you and Bodenheim, and Loy, and Sand- 
burg (and in earlier phases Frost) out of the muck of liars and shams is of 

some use even to poetry in a country so utterly cursed by every 

god of the pantheon as to have Woody Wilson for its 'choice,' and indi- 
vidual liberty slowly growing illegal. If you weren't stupider than a mud- 
duck you would know that every kick to bad writing is by that much a 
help for the good. 

When did I ever, in enmity, advise you to use vague words, to shun the 

1 This refers to Marianne Moore's statement to Williams: 'My work has come 
to have just one quality of value in it: I will not touch or have to do with those 
things which I detest.' Kora in Hell, p. 1 2. 


192a— aetat 34 

welding of word and thing, to avoid hard statement, word close to the 
thing it means? 

But I don't care a fried about nationality. Race is probably 

real. It is real. 

And you might in fairness have elaborated my quotation on virus. 1 
There is a blood poison in America; you can idealize the place (easier now 
that Europe is so damd shaky) all you like, but you haven't a drop of the 
cursed blood in you, and you don't need to fight the disease day and night; 
you never have had to. Eliot has it perhaps worse than I have — poor devil. 

You have the advantage of arriving in the milieu with a fresh flood of 
Europe in your veins, Spanish, French, English, Danish. You had not the 
thin milk of New York and New England from the pap; and you can 
therefore keep the environment outside you, and decently objective. 

With your slower mental processes, your later development, you 
are very likely, really of a younger generation; at least of a younger 

Different from my thin logical faculty. And, thank god, from Harriet's 
blow (really the gaseous American period of the generation or two before 
me . . . bluff. . . throwing the bull, town prospecting, etc.). 

And now that there is no longer any intellectual life in England save 
what centres in this eight by ten pentagonal room; now that Rimy and 
Henry are gone and Yeats faded, and no literary publication whatever 
extant in England, save what ' we ' print (Egoist and Ovid Press), the ques- 
tion remains whether I have to give up every shred of comfort, every 
scrap of my personal life, and 'gravitate' to a New York which wants me 
as little now as it did ten and fifteen years ago. Whether, from the medical 
point of view it is masochism for me even to stay here, instead of shifting 
to Paris. Whether self-inflicted torture ever has the slightest element of 
dignity in it? 

Or whether I am Omar. 

Have I a country at all . . . now that Mouquin is no more, and that your 
father has no more goldwasser, and the goldwasser no obescent bon- 
homme to pour it out for me? 

Or you who sees no alternative? 

All of which is, as you have divined, in relation to your prologue. I will 
get on to the Improvisations (for which many thanks) later. 

Have written to Dial that you are the best thing in the country. Can you 
keep up some push of American stuff— you, Bodenheim, Sandburg, 
Hecht, Sher. Anderson, etc ? 

1 In his * Prologue' Williams had quoted a part of Pound's letter of 10 Novem- 
ber 1917. See Letter No. 137, p. 180. 



I really can't do the whole show. Besides I am not supposed to run the 
American end. 

If you want to honour the country, a la your pathriotism, you people 
who have some guts ought to crowd such whiffle as ' Songs of the Pueblo 
Indians' by A.L. out of the international envoy ( (Dial, > Sept. p. 247). 

171: To William Carlos Williams 

London, 1 1 September 

Deer Bull: Got at far as p. 68. All that can be expected of middle-aged 
European in one day. 

Inclined to think it best you have done. Don't know that it is more 
incoherent than Rimbaud's Saison en Enfer; nor yet that it could be im- 
proved by being more intelligible. Still, am inclined to think it is pro- 
bably most effective where most comprehensible. 

The italics at any rate don't detract. Not that they, in many cases, much 
explain the matter either. Nor sure that you would lose much or anything 
by still further exposition. Not on other hand suggesting that clear Mau- 
passant modus would serve your every turn. 

Re the dialog, with your old man, 1 which I don't bloody remember . . . 
remember we did talk about 'Und Drang' 2 but there the sapphires cer- 
tainly are not anything but sapphires, perfectly definite visual imagina- 
tion. However, upshot (which you don't, certainly, imply) is that your old 
man was certainly dead right. And that whatever t'ell I said ten years ago, 
I certainly have since then endeavoured c to why in the hell or heaven' say 
it and not summat else ... to the whatever t'ell improvement of my what- 
ever t'ell style or modus. 

1 'My parent had been holding forth in downright sentences upon my own 
"idle nonsense" when he turned and became equally vehement concerning 
something Ezra had written: what in heaven's name Ezra meant by "jewels" in a 
verse that had come between them. These jewels — rubies, sapphires, amethysts 
and what not, Pound went on to explain with great determination and care, were 
the backs of books as they stood on a man's shelf. "But why in heaven's name 
don't you say so then?" was my father's triumphant and crushing rejoinder/ 
KorainHell y p. 13. 

f This series appears in Can^oni. The reference here is to the seventh poem of 
the series, 'The House of Splendour': 

And I have seen her there within her house 
With six great sapphires hung along the wall . . . 


192a— aetat 34 

possibly lamentable that the two halves of what might have made a 

fairly decent poet should be sequestered and divided by the — — 

buttocks of die arse-wide Atlantic Ocean. 

If I was as ornery in my clear verse as you are in yourn, I'd be up before 

the beak. ... 1 wonder why Lamar lets you thru and pinches 

the innocent Joyce (non-conformist parson from Aberdeen) while you . . . 
(*ohe ma-ma' as ma chfcre Xelezine would remark under similar . . .) vari- 
ant 'Mum-my/ 

Will say that the cover design is at any rate purr-fectly clear. Wholly 
definite indication of the spirit of the woik as a hole (Even there, the lay- 
man's ignorance. ... Is there any occult significance in the black eggs?) 

Not sure Gaudier oughtn't have dedicated the first post-Xtn bust of 
the century to your rather than to my liberator. Le gracieux et souple 
rhythme de Properce fait croire a un fleuve ou a une berge plutot qu'a. un 
chfine. (mummy) 

If any one has patience enough to read I think the book does manage to 
convey general sense of what you are meaning . . . more one can not ask, 
perhaps. Problem (not five minute problem): would more 3rd person, 
objective statement . . . etc . . . Oh hell . . . dare say it wouldn't. 

Anyhow blaze away, and more power to your elbow. Don't listen to 
anyone else, and above all don't listen to me. 

Should welcome your candid re both Homage to S. Prop, and Mauberley 
if you have the texts. Nobody tells me anything about 'em that I don't 

know already (and that they usually tell me a rebours) all except 

who says ... in confirmation of the remark on lunar ellipses, etc. that 
Callimachus is too much, and that the Rubaiyat is properly annotated. 
And when I think where I found her. 

I must cross the proper names out of this, as you're such a devil for 
printin' one's private affairs. 

172: To William Carlos Williams 

London , 12 Septembei 

Voui, mon vieux coco: Another point re parodies, Iangue d'oc, etc 1 To 
be * historic,' the 'Homage Iangue d'oc' was the first thing hit upon by 
L'Intransigeant as supposedly of popular interest to the populous French 

1 *I do not overlook De Gourmont's plea for a meeting of the nations, but I 
do believe that when they meet Paris will be more than slightly abashed to find 
parodies of the middle ages, Dante and Langue d'Oc foisted upon it as the best 
in United States poetry.' Kora in Hell, p. 28. 
P 225 


public. That's nothing, proves only that populous French are insular, like 
to think their country is noticed, etc. No importance. 

But what the French real reader would say to your Improvisations is 
Voui, s(h)a j(h)ai d6]k (f )vu s(h)a s(h)a c'est de R(h)imb(h)aud ! ! 

So much for your kawnscious or unkawnscious. I certainly never put up 
translations of Provenjal as 'American'; and Eliot is perfectly conscious of 
having imitated Laforgue, has worked to get away from it, and there is 
very little Laforgue in his Sweeney, or his Bleistein Burbank, or his 
'Gerontion,' or his Bay State hymn book. And in fact you are talking 
through your hat when you suggest that I at any time was ever ass enough 
to have picked 'La Figlia* for the fantastic occasion you hypothecate. 1 

Masters is not as good as Jammes' Existences. Your 'representative 
American* verse will be that which can be translated in foreign languages 
without appearing ridiculous to us after it has been 'accepted,' and which 
will appear new to the French or Hun or whatever. Pas de bile. 

P.S. Of course, for me to say 'you're another' is no argument — it's only 
drawing attention to the vitreous nature of your facade on observing the 
bricks you heave at my conservatory. 

173: To Agnes Bedford 

London, October 

Kattegorrikaly damn the woman. I refuse to spoil one of the best bits of 
Provenjal by making a rush crib in twenty minutes to order. Meaning is 
all tied up with sound. 

First strophe is about new leaves and flowers bring back fragrance to 
the heart. 

Second — insomnia — due to natural cause usual at the season. 

Then — where man's treasure is there will his heart be also. 

Then — and if I see her not, no sight is worth the beauty of my thought 
— which is the trouvaille — can't spoil it by botched lead up. 

There is no literal translation of a thing where the beauty is melted into 
the original phrase. Tell the brute to take a literal photo of the Venus de 

1 'Imagine an international congress of poets at Paris or Versailles, Remy de 
Gourmont (now dead), presiding, poets all speaking five languages fluently. 
Ezra stands up to represent U.S. verse and De Gourmont sits down smiling. 
Ezra begins by reading "La Figlia che Piange". It would be a pretty pastime to 

father with a mental basket the fruits of that reading from the minds of die ten 
renchmen present; their impressions of the sort of United States that very fine 
flower was picked from.' Kora in Hell, p. 28. 




174-' To William Carlos Williams 

St. Raphael, 2 February 

Deer Bull: Yours of Jan. 10 to hand. Dopo tarn* anni (16), I can not pri- 
ciser any address in Dock (?) St. or other. Any studio I was ever in was 
probably that of some friend or relative of Will Smith, who avoided a very 
unpleasant era of American life by dying of consumption to the intimate 
grief of his friends. How in Christ's name he came to be in Phila. — and to 
know what he did know at the age of 17-25 — I don't know. At any rate, 
thirteen years are gone; I haven't replaced him and shan't and no longer 
hope to. 

Apart from his friends', it might have been a studio of a middle-aged 
friend of Maturin Dondo's. 

Re travel. I rather want to take a solid year in Paris. But if 'they say' 
anything solid — i.e. expenses guaranteed and ??? (couple) of thousand 
(??? £) $ over, i.e. guarantee of leisure for a year after the whirlwind cam- 
paign — I will listen to the stern voice of duty and save as much of the 
country as is ready to be snatched from the yawning maw of gum shoes, 
Y.M.C. A., Chubb, e tutti quanti. 

I had rather you came to Paris, but should be glad of i further informa- 
tion.' I went to Newcastle year before last for one lecture — I suppose 
coming to U.S. would be like doing that for a year? ? ? — / — / 

175: To Marianne Moore 


St. Raphael, 24 March 

Good review. But are you sure the B. Jonson 1 doesn't bear a bit of con- 
fession that B.J.'s a dull subject and that it was very difficult to condone 
the fact through the whole of a Times article? 

Probably the greatest tour de force of the book. Yes. 

1 T. S. Eliot's essay on Ben Jonson is referred to. 


176: To Agnes Bedford 

Paris, April 

Find Cocteau and Picabia intelligent. Fools abound but are less in one's 

way here, or at least for the moment. Don't know that I have as yet done 

more than refrain from superfluous action and possibly talk too much. • . • 

Joyce's new chapter is enormous — megaloscrumptious — mastodonic. 

177: To Wyndham Lewis 

Paris, 27 April 

Dear W.L.: Can't see that Tyro is of interest outside Bloomsbury; and 
having long sought a place where 

Sound of and -well is forgot 

And. . . r's visage overcast with snot 
Absent from the purlieus, and in fact 
A freedom from the whole arseblarsted lot. 

am not inclined to reenter. 

Am taking up the Little Review again, as a quarterly, each number to 
have about twenty reprods of one artist, replacing Soir&s de Paris. 

Start off with twenty Brancusi's to get a new note. 

You have had since 1917 to turn in some illustrations for L.R., but per- 
haps the prospect of a full Lewis number will lure you. 

Also, as I have never been able to get a publisher for a book on you, I 
have the idea of trying one on 'Four Modern Artists' if you can collect 
sufficient illustrations. I know there is difficulty re S. Kens, stuff and re 
Quinn's stuff. 

I however give you this chance for a communique to Quinn. Tell him I 
am contemplating the book. (He has just bought some Brancusi, by the 
way, and shown good sense in so doing.) 

I should take you, Brancusi, Picasso, and, surprising as it will seem to 
you, Picabia, not exacdy as a painter, but as a writer. He commences in 
Pensies sans paroles and lands in his last book/. C. Rastaquoere and there 
is also more in his design stuff than comes up in reprod. 


1 92 1— aetat 35 

Also the four chapters wd. give me a chance to make certain contrasts, 

Format of L.R. will be larger and reprods therein as good as possible. It 
will also be on sale at strategic points here. 

Yr. correspondent Marcoissis is an industrious and serious person who 
has ' done som beeutiful graiynin' in 'is time/ not a titanic intellect, but has 
German market. Very very much concerned with execution. Gleizes isn't. 
Bracque I have only seen for two minutes and am inclined to like. 

You ought to get Eliot out of England somehow. 

178: To Agnes Bedford 

Paris, {? April) 

Sat through the PelUas the other evening and am encouraged — encour- 
aged to tear up the whole bloomin' era of harmony and do the thing if 
necessary on two tins and wash-board. Anything rather than that mush of 
hysteria, Scandinavia strained through Belgium plus French Schwarmerei. 
Probably just as well I have to make this first swash without any instru- 
ments at hand. Very much encouraged by the PelUas, ignorance having 
no further terrors if that damn thing is the result of what is called musical 

Have you seen Cocteau's Cock and Harlequin} Pub. by Egoist 3/6. Con- 
siderable sense. 

I haven't been able to exclude violins altogether; and I suppose there 
will eventually be a few chords in the damn thing. Fortunately Satie's 
Socrate is damn dull (and people endure it) and Auric, whatever he knows, 
is certainly out for even less system than I am. (I really having a damn 
definite system, which may bring up bang against Les Six.) They will hang 
me possibly as an academic but scarcely as a dynamitist. 

179: To Marianne Moore 

Paris, (? April) 

Dear Marianne Moore: As a protest against the imbecile suppression of 
Joyce's Ulysses some of the best men here in Paris are joining me in filling 
a special number of The Little Review and propose to boost it in its new 
quarterly form. 



I know perfectly well that I shall never get any adequate report of N.Y. 
from N.Y. editors of the L.R. I hope that you will join in the move; at any 
rate that you will write to me and let me know how things are in N.Y. 

Could you, for example, see that the quarterly has a proper list of new 
books of literary interest? I mean at least those which have some sort of 
significance in the development of poetic expression, or formal discovery. 
Books, in short, that you or I would read, or buy to keep, stuff of the sort 
that I have mentioned in Instigations. 

Heaven knows I have done my share of this sort of thing, and if you 
haven't enough interest in the matter to do it yourself, you might at least 
find some one who can take the matter as serious. 

It doesn't necessarily mean more than four lines to say a book has 
appeared. But a quarterly ought to have at least that. 

One can trust M.C.A. to die on the bayonets, but not bring up the 
water and hard tack. 

We start off with twenty illustrations of Brancusi, a complete trans, of 
Cocteau's Cap de Bonne Esperance, and I hope stuff by Morand, Cros, 
Cendrars, Picabia — two of whom are out of Paris, and as I only got onto 
this job three days ago I haven't yet heard from them. 

At any rate there is to be once more a review which doesn't consult the 
state of public stupidity or the dictates of prudence. 

I thought I had at last got free of all Anglo-Saxon connections, am per- 
haps wrong to take this new plunge. However, you might let me know 
whether you can be counted on, or whether you also think I should allow 
the country to sink into its apparently ineluctable and fanatical gloom 
without the annoyance of transatlantic prods. 

Most of your young fellow citizens appear to be heading for this side, 
judging from the literary appeals falling daily upon my desk. 

The inducement to American contributors is that having the best of the 
French writers in the L.R. the thing will be seen here, as other Am. mags 
are not. 

I have tried for a year to get Thayer to print — i.e., at least get — an 
article on younger American writers. No use. You might tell me if any- 
thing of interest has been written there. 

(Have seen Bill's Kora.) Also Contact where he attacks me for having 
given, so far as I have been able, the autocthonous bard something like the 
same chance as those in London. This he interprets as an attack on the 
American pathriot (i.e., possibly his own dago-immigrant self)- Pas de 
bile. I hope he will contribute to the new L.R. out of respect to his 
Hispano-French mother. (You might also tell him — or rather forward him 
this letter and save me the half hour of writing him — that Cocteau looks 


1 92 1— aetat 36 

more like him than even his own brother Ed. Indeed much more; not full 
face but 3/4; most amazin' resemblance — at least to Bill as he used to look 
in 1 9 10.) 

Also, entre nooz: is there anyone in America except you, Bill and Mina 
Loy who can write anything of interest in verse? And as for prose??? 

A quarterly must to some degree make as hard a selection as is com- 
patible with admitting real experiment. 

180: To Agnes Bedford 

Paris, May 

Continuing in desperation and despite the outrageous postal rates — 

What in your exltd. opinion is the least amount of tarabiscotage the 
thing will stand? Ans. to be as technical as possible. After the Pilleas, as 
aforestated, I feel ready to make a Partition pour deux Casseroles et une 
planche de buis. Remembering that the accords, or rather identical note is 
built up of several instruments forcement giving very different overtones, 
how much bloody chord-harmony is necessary? 

I said the other day — M. est-ce-qu'il y a de chose plus stupide qu'une 
accorde?? £a me donne Teffet d'un coussin de sofa. And got the answer 
4 Oui, on a toujours la sensation de s'asseoir dessus.' 

Premier principe — rien that interferes with the words, or with the 
utmost possible clarity of impact of words on audience. . . . 

Even an instrumental counterpoint developed ANYwhere near enough to 
satisfy mere contrapuntalist would presumably bitch the words????? 

Given the play for the eye, and the song, how much of actual orchestra- 
tion does the audience hear??? 

181: To T. S.Eliot 

Paris j 24 Saturnusy An I, (24 December) 

Caro mio: Much improved. I think your instinct had led you to put the 
remaining superfluities at the end. I think you had better leave 'em, 
abolish 'em altogether or for the present. 



If you must keep 'em, put 'em at the beginning before the 'April 
crudest month/ The poem ends with the 'Shantih, shantih, shantih.' 

One test is whether anything would be lacking if the last three were 
omitted. I don't think it would. 

The song has only two lines which you can use in the body of the poem. 
The other two, at least the first, does not advance on earlier stuff. And 
even the sovegna doesn't hold with the rest; which does hold. 

(It also, to your horror probably, reads aloud very well. Mouthing out 

I doubt if Conrad is weighty enough to stand the citation. 
^The thing now runs from 'April . . .' to 'shantih' without a break. That 
is 19 pages, and let us say the longest poem in the English langwidge. 
Don't try to bust all records by prolonging it three pages further. 

The bad nerves is O.K. as now led up to. 

My squibs are now a bloody impertinence. I send 'em as requested; but 
don't use 'em with Waste Land. 

You can tack 'em onto a collected edtn, or use 'em somewhere where 
they would be decently hidden and swamped by the bulk of accompanying 
matter. They'd merely be an extra and wrong note with the 19 page 

Complimenti, you bitch/ I am wracked by the seven jealousies, and 
cogitating an excuse for always exuding my deformative secretions in my 
own stuff, and never getting an outline^! go into nacre and objets d'art. 

Some day I shall lose my temper, blaspheme Flaubert, lie like a 

and say 'Art should embellish the umbelicus.* 

Sage Homme 

These are the poems of Eliot 
By the Uranian Muse begot; 
A Man their Mother was, 
A Muse their Sire. 

How Jul the printed Infancies result 
From Nuptials thus doubly difficult? 

If you must needs enquire 

Know diligent Reader 

That on each Occasion 

E\ra performed the caesarean Operation. 


1 92 1— aetat 36 

Cauls and grave clothes he brings 
Fortune's outrageous stings. 
About which odour clings, 

Of putrefaction, 
Bleichstein's dank rotting clothes 
Affect the dainty nose. 
He speaks of common woes 

Deploring action* 

He writes ofA.B.Cs 
And flaxseed poultices. 
Observing fate's hard decrees 

Sans satisfaction; 
Breeding of animals, 
Humans and cannibals, 
But above all else of smells 

Without attraction 

Vates cum fistula 

It is after all a grrrreat littttttterary period. 
Thanks for the Aggymemnon. 



1 82: From T.S. Eliot to Ezra Pound 

[The following letter, which continues the discussion of The Waste Land, 
was sent by Eliot to Pound. Pound's marginal notes are indicated in boldface. 

London , (? January) 

Cher maitre: Qriticisms accepted so far as understood, with thanks. 
Glowed on the marble where the glass 
Sustained by standards wrought with fruited vines 
Wherefrom...}} O.K. 

Footsteps shuffled on the stair ... O.K. 

A closed car. I can't use taxi more than once. O.K. 

Departed, have left no addresses ...??? O.K. 

What does thence mean (To luncheon at the Cannon St. Hotel) ? ? ? 
Would D's difficulty be solved by inverting to 

Drifting logs 

The barges wash . . . ??? 

1. Do you advise printing ' Gerontion' as a prelude in book or pamphlet 


2. Perhaps better omit Phlebas also ? ? ? 

3. Wish to use Caesarean Operation in italics in front. 

4. Certainly omit miscellaneous pieces. Those at end, 

5. Do you mean not use the Conrad quote or simply not put Conrad's 

name to it? It is much the most appropriate I can find, and some- 
what elucidative. 

Complimenti appreciated, as have been excessively depressed. 

I would have sent Aeschule before but have been in bed with flu, now 
out, but miserable. 

Would you advise working sweats with tears etc. into nerves mono- 
logue; only place where it can go ? 
Have writ to Thayer asking what he can offer for this* 
Trying to read Aristophane.] 


1922— aetat 36 
183: To T. S. Eliot 

Paris, (? January) 

Filio dilecto mihi: I merely queeried the dialect of 'thence'; dare say it is 

D. was fussing about some natural phenomenon, but I thought I had 
crossed out her query. The wake of the barges washes etc., and the barges 
may perfectly well be said to wash. I should leave it as it is, and not invert. 

I do not advise printing ' Gerontion' as preface. One don't miss it at all 
as the thing now stands. To be more lucid still, let me say that I advise you 
not to print ' Gerontion* as prelude. 

I do advise keeping Phlebas. In fact I more'n advise. Phlebas is an inte- 
gral part of the poem; the^ard pack introduces him, the~3rowned pho„en. 
sailor. And he is needed ABsolootly where he is. Must stay in. 

Do as you like about my obstetric effort. 

Ditto re Conrad; who am I to grudge him his laurel crown? 

jEschylus not so good as I had hoped, but haven't had time to improve 
him, yet. 

I dare say the sweats with tears will wait. 

You can forward the 'Bolo' to Joyce if you think it won't unhinge his 
somewhat Sabbatarian mind. On the hole he might be saved the shock, 
shaved the sock. 

You will remember (or if not remind me of) the occasion when the 
whole company arose as one man and burst out singing ' Gawd save the 
Queen.' The anti-lynch law (postlude of mediaeval right to scortum ante 
mortem) has I see been passed to the great glee of the negro spectators in 
the congressional art gallery. 

Dere z also de stoory of the poker game, if you hab forgotten it. 

184: To Amy Lowell 

Paris, 10 March 

Once more to the breach, My Dear Amy: The Syballine or however you 
spell 'em books are burning; once more, pas de bile, before it is yet too 
late, do you wish to repent and be saved ? 

Pas de bile, I have none. You have attributed to me malicious remarks 



that I have never made. I have heard that you pay for your advertising, but 
I have never said so to anyone. 

But you haven't, and there it is, you simply haven't taken the turning 
that leads to your getting the most fun out of life, and in your better 
moments, you know it. It means a lot of wear and tear, and it ain't, no 
dearie, it ain't good for the nerves. The eye of the needle is narrow. 

Further information if you want it. 

185: To William Carlos Williams 

Paris , iS March 

Deer Bullll: The point is that Eliot is at the last gasp. Has had one break- 
down. We have got to do something at once. 

I have been on the job, am dead tired with hammering this machine. 
Steps have been taken. Richard and I, pledged £10 per year. This merely 
to apologize for brevity. I enclose carbon outline. 1 Get to it. 

Can you run to 50 dollars yourself? ? ? 

1 There is no organized or coordinated civilization left, only individual 
scattered survivors. 

Aristocracy is gone, its function was to select. 

Only those of us who know what civilization is, only those of us who want 
better literature, not more literature, better art, not more art, can be expected to 
pay for it. No use waiting for masses to develop a finer taste, they aren't moving 
that way. 

All the rewards to men who do compromise works. 

No hope for others. 

Millionaires all tapped too frequently. Must be those of us who care. We are 
none of us able to act alone. Must cooperate. 

Increase production of the best, by releasing the only energies that are capable 
of producing it. 

'Bel Esprit' started in Paris. To release as many captives as possible. 

Darkness and confusion as in Middle Ages; no chance of general order or 
justice; we can only release an individual here or there. 

T. S. Eliot first name chosen. Must have thirty guarantors at £10 per year 'for 
life or for as long as Eliot needs it' (anyone who don't like my choice is at liberty 
to choose some other imprisoned artist or writer, and start another 'Bel Esprit' 

Only thing we can give the artist is leisure to work in. Only way we can get 
work from him is to assure him this leisure. 

As fast as his sales go up, amount of his subsidy will be decreased; this to 
insure quality: to prevent his being penalized for suppressing inferior work. 
Every writer is penalized as at present for not doing bad work, penalized for not 
printing everything he can sell. 


1922— aetat 36 

I wd. try and make it good to you later. I mean the struggle is to get the 
first man released. 'Release of energy for invention and design' ace best 
economic theories. After Eliot is freed it will be much easier to get out the 
second, third and tenth prisoners. 

I wd. back you for the second, if you wished. But I don't really believe 
you want to leave the U.S. permanently. I think you are suffering from 
nerve; that you are really afraid to leave Rutherford. I think you ought to 
have a year off or a six months' vacation in Europe. I think you are afraid 
to take it, for fear of destroying some illusions which you think necessary 
to your illusions. I don't think you ought to leave permanently, your job 
gives you too real a contact, too valuable to give up. But you ought to see 
a human being now and again. 

One might, after freeing Eliot, run a yearly trip from America. Or at 
least you one summer, Marianne another, etc. when there was someone 
worth it. At present, although the necessary 30 for Eliot haven't been 
found, I can I think offer you a summer home. The 'Bel Esprit' is defin- 
itely started. And the 'pavilion' was offered me yesterday for suitable can- 
didate. It is not the ' sanctuaire ' on card enclosed. < 

Wastage of literary prizes. Anatole France deserved the Nobel Prize, but no 
one will claim that giving it to him at age of 74 increases or betters his pro- 

Eliot, in bank, makes £500. Too tired to write, broke down; during con- 
valescence in Switzerland did Waste Land, a masterpiece; one of most important 
1 9 pages in English. 

Returned to bank, and is again gone to pieces, physically. 

Pound, Aldington, start with £10 guarantees, if they can afford it others can. 

Must restart civilization; people who say they care, don't care unless they 
care to the extent of £5 in the spring and £5 in autumn, ridiculous to say they 
do, if they won't run to that, can't expect a civilization or grumble if they don't 

Not charity, not 'pity the poor artist'. Eliot wd. rather work in bank than do 
poor work. Has tried to live by pen and can't. (Poor health, invalid wife.) 

Not charity in his case nor in case of any other good artist which we may 
later choose. 

It is for us who want good work to provide means of its being done. We are 
the consumers and we demand something fit to consume. 

In the arts quantity is nothing, quality everything. 

Only certain men who can produce the grade of stuff we want. They must be 
in position to do so. 

Only certain lands will produce copper, etc. Must go where the stuff is, no 
gathering figs of thistle bushes. 

If not enough good will to release one proved writer, how do they expect to 
regenerate Europe? 

Eliot first item on list. Anyone free to start group for their own choice. 



It is a show down. Those who don't care 50 dollars a year for the arts, 
don't care for much. It gags the sassiety muckers. 

I want you to help. If you can't make the 50 dollars a year pledge, can 
you organize a group which will do so? I am writing to Bob McA. (lmon >; 
I want you to work in America. It is the start that is the hardest. Once the 
nucleus formed. Once the Tom cat and the she-cat, the kittens will arrive 
without our worrying. 

No use trying to unite people on critical basis, basis of common taste, or 
opinion, must unite on basis of common good will. Anyone don't like 
choice of Paris branch of 'Bel Esprit' can start local branch, backing local 
fancy. If you don't approve sending American poet to Europe, you can 
invite European poet to U.S.A. I don't care. 

First step is however necessary. Must free the qualified energies if we 
are to get the stuff. 

186: To H. L. Mencken 

Paris, 22 March 

My dear Henry: Who is to pay my way to the 'remains'? The Christian 
Era ended at midnight on Oct. 29-30 of last year. You are now in the year 
1. p.s.U., if that is any comfort to you. 

I thought you were coming over for a drink on the 'first post bellum 
boat.' Air' yeh waterlogged? 

Will you come in on this ' Bel Esprit' show? It will cost you fifty bones 
a year, but if I can afford it, you can. Nothing will get any better until 
some one does something decent. 

Shaw now writes to me twice a week complaining of the high price of 

Umbra, Instigations, why not the last vol. of my distinguished mews. 

Bad Stomackhk, I don't wonder. As the apostle says, take a little 
Pomeroy for thy belly's ache. — / — / 

You better come away, Henry, before it is yet even too late. 


1922— aetat 36 

187: To Katb Buss 

Paris, (^23 ) March 

Dear K.B.: No, this circular is, as marked, for private circulation. 1 There 

1 The following circular was printed by John Rodker for ' Bel Esprit ' : 
'In order that T. S. Eliot may leave his work in Lloyd's Bank and devote his 
whole time to literature, we are raising a fund, to be £300 annually; this being in 
our opinion the minimum possible for this purpose. Method, £10, Fifty dollars 
. . . payable yearly by 30 subscribers. 


'As three of the initial life members of Bel Esprit, Richard Aldington, May 
Sinclair and Ezra Pound are practising authors, having nothing but their 
writings to live on, we consider ourselves in a position to know, with some 
accuracy, conditions being what they are, about what Eliot can earn by his best 
work; and at what point hack-work, etc. would interfere with his good writing, 
i.e., interfere with it as much as or more than his present exhausting, but steady 
bank work (which brings him £600 a year). 

'(This notice for private circulation only.) 

'We are not a home for sick animals. We want the work of certain men. We 
want a better grade of work than present systems of publishing are willing to pay 
for. This is to our credit, and our choice of an artist should be an honour to him. 

'Eliot's earlier poems are available. He tried some years ago to live by 
journalism, and found the bank preferable. Our aim is not to send him back 
into journalism. 

'He certainly is not asking favours, our plan was concocted without his 
knowledge. The facts are that his bank work has diminished his output of 
poetry, and that his prose has grown tired. Last winter he broke down and was 
sent off for three months' rest. During that time he wrote Waste Land, a series 
of poems, possibly the finest that the modern movement in English has pro- 
duced, at any rate as good as anything that has been done since 1900, and which 
certainly loses nothing by comparison with the best work of Keats, Browning or 
Shelley. As some of the subscribers approve primarily of Eliot, and some 
primarily of the aims of the society, Bel Esprit, the pledge forms are written so 
that the subscriber may make his donation either to Eliot direct, or to Bel Esprit 
for Eliot, in which latter case the treasurers of Bel Esprit (Mr. Aldington, 
England, Mr. Pound, France) stand personally responsible for the delivery of 
receipts to Mr. Eliot. 

'I hereby pledge myself to contribute £ yearly 

$ yearly 

for years 

to (a) T.S.Eliot 

(£) To Bel Esprit for T. S. Eliot (in which case a treasurer of Bel Esprit, 
R. Aldington, Malthouse Cottage, Padworth, Reading, Berks, acting in England. 

Q *4i 


can be no more publicity about Eliot until his subsidy is fixed, as further 
talk might get him into a mess with the bank, before he is ready to quit. 

This is important. 

You can write about 'Bel Esprit* (if you understand it). The present 
circular leaves only paragraph i on page 2 quotable. 

I am going to write out a clear statement of 'Bel Esprit' as soon as 

Main ideas: 

i. That the reader is a consumer and that quality is a luxury; i.e. it can 
appeal only to a few people and they, if they want it, must pay for it. 

2. As there is no aristocracy, one must form a combine of simple par- 
ticulars to pay. 

It is a risk. So is an oil well. 

I will write in a few days. 

188: To Wyndham Lewis 

Siena, 5 April 

Caro mio: There is no use my giving you advice re yr. own affairs. I have 
never known you to take any anyhow. 

Don't see that 'Bel Esprit' could ever do much more than provide you 
a studio. 

Certainly can't start on you as you have to the public eye had nothing 
but leisure for years. Nothing to prevent or to have prevented you doing 
any damn thing you liked, save yr habit of fuss and of having a private life 
and allowing it to intrude on yr. attention. Try New York; I mean emi- 
grate. England is under a curse. 

Or — Ezra Pound, 70HS rue Notre Dame des Champs, Paris, acting in France, 
stands personally responsible for the transmission of funds to Mr. Eliot). 

'This money is given on the understanding that Mr. Eliot shall devote his 
entire time to literary work. No restriction is placed on the nature of that work, 
and I, the present donor, will make no effort to influence either the subject- 
matter or the manner of his writing save by such literary criticism as any critic 
of literature might indulge in. 

IwiUpaythismoney^^^} **•** ^ 

(Signature) ' 


1922— aetat 36 

Also re -Bel Esprit': Joyce worked for years as language teacher, and I 
have done all sorts of little jobs at £1/1 a shot. 

I had left Paris before your writing re Schiff. I left on March 27th. Don't 
think wd. have done any good my meeting him as it wd. be esagg. to say I 
find him a kindred spirit. 

Re ' Bel Esprit': vide New Age for Mar. 30th. 

Anyone who can afford to can buy annuities or place capital in Lloyds' 
(most of the subscribers can't). 

T. bound to be sceptical until the actual sum is in hand. At present there 
is £120 a year. He wd. in time earn something by his pen. Annuities at 
£180 on T's life are obviously the preferable form. 

Good will counts for something, also the possible spread of the society 
and there being a larger fund than T's ^3 00 to fall back on. 

The £120 is already flanked by several people willing to give £20, but 
who ought not to be allowed to do so. That margin acts as insurance. 

If there aren't 30 or 50 people interested in literature, there is no civiliza- 
tion and we may as well regard our work as a private luxury, having no 
aims but our own pleasure. You can't expect people to pay you for enjoy- 
ing yourself. 

189: To William Carlos Williams 

Venice^ 4 May 

See here ole son: If you hear a report of my death don't fer Xt's sake deny 
it. Say you expected as much. Suggest Xifiction or assifiction or any other 
— and xpress perlite regret. 

Now as to the Pavilion: I wrote you from Paris that I hoped to be able 
to offer it to you. The matter re pavilion was broached at a tea fight 3 days 
before I left Paris and I was expected to come out and inspect it — hygien- 
ically etc. and pronounce it fit or unfit for literary habitation. On receipt of 
yrs. (containing Katz proceeds) I wrote to Paris to see if formality of my 
inspection, etc., were necessary. The Baronne de Clausel responds that it is 
fit for a European artist but that she shudders to think of effect it might 
have on an American. An American to her is evidently someone who wd. 
shrink from sharing his priwy with a chauffeur. 

My studio won't hold three, but my spouse goes to Eng. about July 
15 th. I can therefore offer you a room for 6 weeks or 2 months during 
which you wd. have time to inspect the Pavilion and see if it is habitable — 
or worth bothering about for the rest of yr. vacation. 



You wd., during the 6-8 weeks, have the inconvenience of my presence 
below you, balanced by the convenience of getting yr. breakfasts ready 
made and not having to struggle with charwomen. I need scarcely say that 
the incommodity of yr. presence wd. be but a greater delight to me — am 
not expecting to give birth to an infant. At least I have shown no sympt- 
toms of pregnancy and there is only 2 to four months in which you wd. be 
exposed to the dangers of a hurry call. 

You can have a separate key to the back entrance, and put a couch in the 
work room if you want to receive female patients without my knowledge. 

Thanks fer 5 bones reed. 

I hope you'll come over. 

Seriously, please don't contradict report of my demise if it has the luck 
to spread. I want a little quiet. 

And let me know probable date of yr. arrival and length of yr. time off. 
?You don't want to take a boat to Genoa and come to Lago di Garda for a 
week first? Probably not worth bore of extra visas, of train trip up to 
Paris. I shan't be back in Paris before about 7th July. (Not trying to nurse 
you or personally conduct you thru Europe — only you can't get into the 
studio in my absence as the key is here in my pocket and the lease forbids 
loan or sublet. Hence the meticulous necessity of my being there to open 
the door if you deign to enter.) 

There's also the very faint possibility that I might have to form a junc- 
tion with X. here in Italy which might (tho' unlikely) delay my return a 
week or so. Will let you know as soon as pos. but in any case, in anny kase, 
so far foresight permits nothing visible at the moment, menaces your 
having 6 weeks or two months free shelter at 7obis. and more in Baronne's 
back garden if her shack is good enough. 

As you have been so explicit in yr. optation of undisturbed solitude I 
hesitate to offer to prolong my sojourn in Italy — if you shd. care to shed 
the lustre of yr. medical knowledge on this land already flavoured with 
sunlight — possibly cd. offer you at least four nerve cases, if that's any 

As to Paris. If you take the room off my studio, don't fer Christ's sake 
think you need see me except at breakfast or that your quiet need be 
infected. I've got (or suppose I have) loan to use a room and garden else- 
where so that we shdn't be cramped. 


1912— aetat 36 

190: To Felix E. Schelling 

Paris j Sjuly 

Dear Dr. Schelling: The length of the enclosed is an outrage. But having 
written it, I may as well send it. I intended only three or four pages. 
Dear Dr. Schelling: May I thank you for the grave tone of your review 
which has just reached me; and also since there is so little tempered criti- 
cism; and since there can be no sort of literary life in America unless at 
least two or three people talk about the same subject once and a while, may 
I take up one or two points ? 

(I mean in the Dial, for example, with Brooke, etc. etc. all talking at 
tangents, and never once discussing any point, never answering anything, 
never trying to give a more precise contour to any idea advanced by any 
other writer in the magazine, one gets no centre, no vie litteraire properly 
so-called or callable.) 

Criticism, I take it, is written in the hope of better things. With all my 
legendary cantankerousness, I think I have tried to learn from critics. . . . 
Sum total of debts to date: 

One caution against homophones, reed, from Robt. Bridges. 

Considerable encouragement to tell people to go to hell, and to main- 
tain absolute intransigeance, reed, from Mr. W. B. Yeats. 

Any amount of good criticism, chiefly in form of attacks on dead lan- 
guage, dialects of books, dialects of Lionel Johnson, etc., reed, from F. 
Madox Hueffer. 

One impractical and infinitely valuable suggestion reed, from Thomas 

(This latter a suggestion re change of title of Homage to Propertius. 
Don't know that T.H. realized how much he was revealing of the gap 
between himself and the '90s. But he woke one to the extent of his own 
absorption in subject as contrasted with aesthetes' preoccupation with 

In your review there are the following: 

1. No, I have not done a translation of Propertius. That fool in Chicago 
took the Homage for a translation, despite the mention of Wordsworth 
and the parodied line from Yeats. (As if, had one wanted to pretend to 
more Latin than one knew, it wdn't have been perfectly easy to correct 
one's divergencies from a Bohn crib. Price 5 shillings.) 

I do think, however, that the homage has scholastic value. MacKail 
(accepted as 'right* opinion on the Latin poets) hasn't, apparently, any 



inkling of the way in which Propertius is using Latin. Doesn't see that S.P. 
is tying blue ribbon in the tails of Virgil and Horace, or that sometime 
after his first 'book' S.P. ceased to be the dupe of magniloquence and 
began to touch words somewhat as Laforgue did. 

2. About Provence. The Wm. Morris tapestry treatment of the Middle 
Ages is unsatisfactory. The originals are more vital, more realist. De Born 
writes songs to provoke real war, and they were effective. This is 
very different from Romantic or Macaulay-Tennyson praise of past 

(Interruptions. Got back from Italy last Sunday and am having a show 
of Round's paintings in this studio on Tuesday . . . large canvases, some 
of them . . . etc. However will try to keep to thread of my discourse.) 

9J ul y 

My assaults on Provence: ist: using it as subject matter, trying to do as 
R.B. had with Renaissance Italy. 2, Diagrammatic translations (those of 
Arnaut, now printed in Instigations); all part of study of verse-form (as 
trans, of Cavalcanti). Note that the English 'poet' en masse had simply 
said: 'these forms are impossible in English, they are too complicated, we 
haven't the rhymes.' That was bunkum, usual laziness of English, and 
hatred of craft. (I suppose I have by now a right to be serious about this 
matter, having been plugging at it for twenty years.) Eh bien. 1. 1 have 
proved that the Provengal rhyme schemes are not impossible in English. 
They are probably inadvisable. The troubadour was not worried by our 
sense of style, our 'literary values,' he could shovel in words in any order 
he liked. Milton ruined his work by not understanding that the genius of 
English is not the genius of Latin, and that one can not write an unin- 
fected language in the same way, using the same word-order that serves in 
an inflected language. The troubadour, fortunately perhaps, was not 
worried about English order; he got certain musical effects because he cd. 
concentrate on music without bothering about literary values. He had a 
kind of freedom which we no longer have. 

There is, however, a beauty in the troubadour work which I have tried 
to convey. I have failed almost without exception; I can't count six people 
whom I have succeeded in interesting in Xllth Century Provence. Perhaps 
the best thing I have done is with the music. Note Five Troubadour Songs, 
Provenjal, with Chaucer's words set to the music. (Pub. London two 
years ago.) 

In the Quia Pauper Amavi vol. and Liveright's Poems 1921: The point 
of the archaic language in the Prov. trans, is that the Latin is really 


1922— aetat 36 

'modern.' We are just getting back to a Roman state of civilization, or in 
reach of it; whereas the Provengal feeling is archaic, we are ages away from 
it. (Whether I have managed to convey this or not I can't say; but it is the 
reason for the archaic dialect.) (Anecdote: Years ago when I was just try- 
ing to find and use modern speech, old Bridges carefully went through 
Personae and Exultations and commended every archaism (to my horror), 
exclaiming ' We'll get 'em all back; we'll get 'em all back.' Eheu fugaces !) 

Next: There's plenty of 'premeditated thrust' in Provengal satire. I 
don't think one ought to hurt unless one means to. 

As to the free verse translation and adaptations of ' Langue d'Oc' in the 
last volume. The charm and lyricism may be gone, but I think you were 
wrong about the 'music and ease' (try 'em aloud). The 'clamour' and 
'charmer' are not intended to be an impression of rhyme, but of syzogy 
such as one finds in Arnaut's stanzas without internal rhyme: 'comba,' 
'trembla,' 'pona' followed in that strophe by rhyme in 'oigna.' Or the 
*-iers f *-ors 9 sequence. 

However, you are right in not finding the 'Langue d'Oc' satisfactory. 
(Save perhaps the ' Descant' ? On Cerclamon.) 

Years ago Yeats was struggling with my rhythms and saying they 
wouldn't do. I got him to read a little Burns aloud, telling him he cd. read 
no cadence but his own, or some verse like Sturge Moore's that had not 
any real characteristics strong enough to prohibit W.B.Y. reading it to his 
own rhythm. I had a half hour of unmitigated glee in hearing 'Say ye 
bonnie Alexander' and 'The Birks o Averfeldy' keened, wailed with infin- 
ite difficulty and many pauses and restarts to The Wind Among the Reeds. 

Sennin are the Chinese spirits of nature or of the air. I don't see that they 
are any worse than Celtic Sidhe. 

Rokku is a mountain. I can perhaps emend the line and make that 
clearer, though 'on' limits it to either a mountain or an island (an an- 
biguity which don't much matter at that point). The name and title indi- 
cate a French priest (as a matter of fact he is a Jesuit). 

Perhaps as the poem goes on I shall be able to make various things 
clearer. Having the crust to attempt a poem in ioo or 120 cantos long after 
all mankind has been commanded never again to attempt a poem of any 
length, I have to stagger as I can. 

The first 1 1 cantos are preparation of the palette. I have to get down all 
the colours or elements I want for the poem. Some perhaps too enig- 
matically and abbreviatedly. I hope, heaven help me, to bring them into 
some sort of design and architecture later. 

Next point: This being buoyed by wit. No. Punch and the rest of them 
have too long gone on treating the foetor of England as if it were some- 



thing to be joked about. There is an evil without dignity and without 
tragedy, and it is dishonest art to treat it as if it were funny. It is perhaps 
difficult to treat it at all; the Brit. Empire is rotting because no one in 
England tries to treat it. Juvenal isn't witty. Joyce's isn't harsh enough. 
One hasn't any theology to fall back on. 

I am perhaps didactic; so in a sense, or in different senses are Homer, 
Dante, Villon, and Omar, and Fitzgerald's trans, of Omar is the only good 
poem of Vict, era that has got beyond a fame de c^nacle. It's all rubbish to 
pretend diat art isn't didactic. A revelation is always didactic. Only the 
aesthetes since 1880 have pretended the contrary, and they aren't a very 
sturdy lot. 

Art can't offer a patent medicine. A failure to dissociate that from a pro- 
founder didacticism has led to the errors of 'aesthete's' critique 

(Of course, I'm no more Mauberley than Eliot is Prufrock. Mais pas- 
sons.) Mauberley is a mere surface. Again a study in form, an attempt to 
condense the James novel. Meliora speramus. 

Eliot's Waste Land is I think the justification of the 'movement,' of our 
modern experiment, since 1900. It shd. be published this year. 

P.S. If 1 ever plagued you about Shaw in the old days, I apologize. He is 
fundamentally trivial. 

Minor quibbles: 'confirmed devotee of vers libre'; search for quantita- 
tive element in English, for liberty of the musician. 

Provengal 'poetry romantic' That doesn't so much interest me. The 
fact that Arnaut and Guido were psychological, almost physiological, 
diagnosticians does interest me. It also interested the late T. E. Hulme (mei 

Cerclamon was insouciant in cadence; Guillaume de Poictiers satyric 
(the ' leer' can be his, quite correctly). 

In the cantos, as yet ?? I have managed to make certain passages intel- 
ligible in themselves, even though the whole is still unintelligible???? Or 
perhaps I haven't. 

Also if I am unlike other people, how is it a pose? Isn't it merely com- 
mon honesty? There are twelve or more vols, to prove some slight bio- 
logical variant between me and the other ex-Penn '05 or ex-seminarists. 
Isn't it nearly time that one allowed me the honesty of never having pre- 
tended the contrary? 

And ' original ' ? ? ? when I can so snugly fit into the words of Propertius 
almost thirty pages with nothing that isn't S.P., or with no distortion of 
his phrases that isn't justifiable by some other phrase of his elsewhere? 

'Affectation of fine phrase': I don't know. I thought it was onomato- 
poeia. For fifteen years 'di lontano connobi il temmolar della marina' and 


1922— aetat 36 

for eight or perhaps six years 'para thina poluphloisboio thalasses.' And 
perhaps even now one has to over-stress the au in addition before one gets 
the effect I was after. 

The metre in Mauberley is Gautier and Bion's 'Adonis'; or at least 
those are the two grafts I was trying to flavour it with. Syncopation from 
the Greek; and a general distaste for the slushiness and swishiness of the 
post-Swinburnian British line. (Cf. Dante's remarks in the D.V.E.) 

Shock troops. All right. There are things I quite definitely want to 
destroy, and which I think will have to (be) annihilated before civilization 
can exist, i.e. anything I shd. dignify with the title civilization, last vestiges 
of which probably went by the board in the counterreformation. I mean all 
that is left is exiled, driven in catacombs, exists in the isolated individual, 
who occasionally meets one other with a scrap of it concealed in his person 
or his study. 

My main objection is to your phrase about being buoyed by wit. If the 
poets don't make certain horrors appear horrible who will? All values ulti- 
mately come from our judicial sentences. (This arrogance is not mine but 
Shelley's, and it is absolutely true. Humanity is malleable mud, and the arts 
set the moulds it is later cast into. Until the cells of humanity recognize cer- 
tain things as excrement, they will stay in (the) human colon and poison 
it. Victoria was an excrement, Curtis, Lorrimer, all British journalism are 
excrement. Bottomley has been jailed and Northcliffe gone off his head to 
prove this.) 

It isn't enough to give the Rabelaisian guffaw. Aristotle has used the 
word, cascarets. Honestly I think Lustra has done a work of purgation of 
minds, meritorious as the physical products of Beecham. Being intem- 
perate, at moments, I shd. prefer dynamite, but in measured moments I 
know that all violence is useless (even the violence of language. . . . How- 
ever, one must know an infinite amount before one can decide on the 
position of the border line between strdng language and violent language). 
The governed explosion of dynamite in a quarry, useful, O.K.; and the 
calamitous useless explosion. 

La la. I run on too long. 

191: To Harriet Monroe 

Paris, 16 July 

Dear H.M.: Yours of April 13 to hand. Got back from Italy a fortnight 

a g°- 



Yes, there is, as per enclosed ' Bel Esprit* private notices, a very definite 
scheme not only for Eliot, but for literchure and the ahts in general. 

Eliot is the first stone. 22 of the 30 subscriptions are in; and with two 
lump gifts, the £3°° f° r the first year is either in hand or promised. Some 
of the pledges are not very well secured. I still want another ten. They are 
mostly 'life' pledges, but there are three that are for only three or five 

I shall hang out myself until the U.S. is ready to start a ministry of 
Beaux Arts, and put me in charge. They won't do that until nearly the end 
of the hecker era, and the crepuscule of the boobs. Also they will have to 
digest one or two facts, stated in the elementary geography books, but 
never digested by the pupils. 

As Bill Williams needs time rather than cash, I think the next *B. Espr.' 
move may be a yearly travel fellowship. Possibly 1000 bones wd. cover it. 
My first nomination wd. be, I think, Marianne Moore . . . though I am 
open to suggestion. 

Re the Anthology: I have had to stop all permissions to anthologists. I 
can only promise you that if you print the poem, no steps will be taken, 
and no protest uttered. Perhaps you had better use it, to give a fuller 

As to anthologies in general (except those that are a sort of group mani- 
festo) the collectors seem generally to want to prove that one agrees with 
their particular form of idiocy. Your anth. is rather better. You do give a 
sort of outline of the earlier part of my work. But you never have per- 
mitted minority reports. Damn remnants in you of Jew religion, that 
bitch Moses and the rest of the tribal barbarians. Even you do still try at 
least to leave the reader in ignorance of the fact that I do not accept the 
current dung, and official opinions about the dregs of the Xtn super- 
stition, the infamy of American laws, etc. Bulbous taboos, and so forth. 

You might at least print a footnote saying that I consider many Ameri- 
can laws infamous, and that I do not accept many beliefs which it is not at 
present permitted people to contradict in print or in school textbooks in 

That wd. give better equilibrium to your ladylike selection of my verse. 

Say that I consider the Writings of Confucius, and Ovid's Metamor- 
phoses the only safe guides in religion. This doesn't repudiate 'The 
G <oodly > F<ere)\ Christ can very well stand as an heroic figure. The hero 
need not be of wisdom all compounded. Also he is not wholly to blame for 
the religion that's been foisted on to him. As well blame me for . . . for all 
the bunk in vers libre. 

Christianity as practised resumes itself into one commandment dear %q 

1922— aetat 36 

all officials, American Y.M.C.A., burocrats, etc., 'Thou shalt attend to thy 
neighbor's business before attending to thine own/ 

In your footnote you ought to point out that I refuse to accept any 
monotheistic taboos whatsoever. That I consider the Metamorphoses a 
sacred book, and the Hebrew scriptures the record of a barbarian tribe, full 
of evil. You have no decent right to palm me off for what I am not, even if 
it does happen to suit your convenience. 

192: To Amy Lowell 

Paris, 19 July 

Dear Amy: Letter from Richard this a.m. repenting of his outburst in 
N.Y. Post, and containing the Caesarean Jesus Wept, in the words 'Amy 

Auw shucks ! dearie, aint you the hell-roarer, aint you the kuss. 

P.S. The first year's £300 is in hand or promised, and 22 subscriptions 

193: To William Carlos Williams 

Paris, (1 August) 

Cher Bull: There's a printer here wants me to supervise a series of book- 
lets, prose (in your case perhaps verse, or whatever form your new stuff is 
in). Gen. size about 50 pages (??? too short for you). Limited private edtn. 
of 350 copies. 50 dollars down to author, and another 50 later. 

Is this any use to you for anything? Appearance in this series wdnt. 
interfere with later reprint in pub. edtn. or inclusion of the 50 pages in 
some later longer book. It is a means of getting in 100 dollars extra before 
one goes to publisher. 

Yeats' sisters' press in Ireland has brought him a good deal in this way. 
I got nearly as much from my little book with them as from the big 
Macmillan edtn. ofNok. 

I shall keep the series strictly modern. One can be more intimate. The 
private limited edtn. don't imply that one is talking to the public, but 
simply to one's friends. 

Anyhow. Explode: let's hear what you have and what you think. 


I think it is probably better, at point where we have now arrived, than 
stray contributions to stray magazines. On peut bien fitre soi, et chez soi. 
Also the printing will be good, as the chap is doing it himself. (His name is 

Also what tips can you give the press re American book shops (/"any? 
And how many Contact subscribers wd. be likely to want your stuff? 

It's hell the way I always seem to get sucked into editing something or 

I suppose the people included in the series wd. more or less pool their 
lists of likely addresses. 

I shall probably use the series for an annual outburst: and only send 
enough stuff to magazines to pay my rent. I haven't exactly flooded the 
world with muck during the last two years, anyhow. 

The series is open: Though I don't at the moment see much more than 
half a dozen names: Hueffer, you, Eliot, Lewis, Windeler, Hemingway, et 
moi m£me. (That's seven.) 

I take it Marianne never has anything but verse ? ? ? 

This is a prose series. General success or point of the thing wd. lie in its 
being really interesting. 

As Bird says, he can make money issuing bibliographies, that is not 
what he wants. 



i94- To James Joyce 

Rapallo, 1 6 January 

Ballade of the most gallant Mulligan, Senator in ordinary 
and the frivolous milkwench of Hogan 

afftl. dedicated to 
S. Daedalus 

by his friend 
Simm McNulty 

Ohe, ohe y Jock Hielandman, 
The strong and brawny Mulligan 
Took off his overcoat and ran 

Unto the river Liffey, 

Peeled off his breeches and jumped in. 
Humecting thus his hairy skin; 
All heedless of pursuers' din 

He struck out like a porpoise. 

* Who goes there j where the waters pour 
1 Across the mill-dam, say, koindsir?* 
'I am a Celtic senator* 

To her replied Buck Mulligan. 

* Put on your breeches, sir, again* 
To him replied the milk-maiden, 

* before you land by our hog-pen, 

on this side of the Liffey. 9 

'Achy darlint, do not but lend me yours, 

* Oi left moine widthem rebel boors 
'whom you seefearin* wather-cures 

on tdther side the Liffey* 



* 01 will, sir,' says she, as cute as cheep, 

* To shieldyoufrom thegaelic breeze, 
'Bedad, oi think they* 11 reach your knees, 

* Kind, kindly kind, sir senator, 

1 And I but one condition make 
' Before I doff now for your sake 
* — think — Jaysus! think what oi've at stake, 
9 O kindly kind, sir senator, 

* If you will wear them and go down 

* To the senate hall in Dublin Town 
'In that attire, — do not frown, 
'Promise me, dear; or, damn you, drown* 

195: To William Carlos Williams 

Rapallo, 9 February 

Deer Bull: The 3 Mts. printing is beautiful as the feet of young damsels on 
the hills (or rather better). 

Hope the Kittens are A-i. 

The Dial has kindly sent me the enclosed for 'Ed,' Dew send it to him 
with my compliments. 

I do not advise you to pay for having vol. of poems printed. You corit 
sell a vol. You can get it published on royalty basis — that's all anyone can 
do except possibly Kipling. 

S'Oiseau is putting so much energy and cash into making 3 Mts. print- 
ing the A- 1 double X, that I don't know how the press will survive the 
prose series. If it does go on and if your Gt. Am. Nov. sells 200 copies, I 
think he might do the poems (yours). At least I shd. like to see the mss. 
and consider it if the press continues. (This is private. Officially the press 
is to last forever and rival Aldus, Froben, Gypsum etc) Bill Bird he is 
sparin' no pains (save on proof correcting). 

Hem and his missus and me and my missus start south on Monday. 

Hear Robt. McA. is in Florence. 

P.S. Re the Gt. Novel — all that need be done re that Ladies' Home 
Urinal is to put woppin gt double sized quote marks before and after the 
quote — say a line space and then the quotes. Sic. 


1923- aetat 37 

Please write to Bird and tell him where to put 'em. I.e. where the L.H.J, 
begins and ends. 

196: To Kate Buss 

Paris, 12 May 

Dear K.B.: I don't know anything about literary agents. How should I, 
being completely unsaleable? Have you tried Liveright? 

The Four Seas publish Bill Williams. That's all I know about U.S. pub- 

Re Three Mts. Press: Your friend can get, or shd. be able to get copies 
in a hurry from the trade agents in N.Y., Gotffcchalk, as per enclosed. 
HuefFer's book is just out, and the next two at the binders. For further 

arrangements Vinal had better write direct to the Press, 1 have 

nothing to do with the business arrangements. 

The Dial has sacked me; so there will be no more Paris letters. Public 
laments over this might be useful. I don't expect there will be any unless 
they are engineer'd or faked by my friends. The Dial reader, biologically 
speaking, the 'Dial reader', will probably be glad to have me eliminated. 
I don't know where to go next. As far as I can see, my communication 
with America is over. I.e., public communication. The last link severed. 

That utter skunk djias invited me to contribute to 

Vanity Puke; but he wants me to emit the kind of assininity used in 
Vanity Puke; and that can't be did. Besides it wdn't. constitute communi- 
cating. To communicate one must say something one means, not merely 
dress up as a Bostonese jack-ass. 

Waal, there it be. If any of you people exiled in America want news 
from the front you'll have to organize a demand. Or find some editor who 
will stand for it. 

I haven't seen any of the other once-high-brow magazines. Do they 
still exist? Are they still glued to 1876? 



The Criterion wants me to send in stuff; i.e., that is in London; the The 
Criterion has to be so heavily camouflaged as Westminster Abbey, that the 
living visitor is not very visihle. On the other hand, imperfect Paris is still 
breathing, respiring. 

The Three Mts. is following this prose series by a dee looks edtn of my 
Cantos (about 16 of 'em, I think) of unrivalled magnificence. Price 2j 
dollars per copy, and 50 and 100 bones for Vellum and illuminateds. 

It is to be one of the real bits of printing; modern book to be jacked up 
to somewhere near level of mediaeval mss. No Kelmscott mess of illegi- 
bility. Large clear type, but also large pages, and specially made capitals. 
Marse Henry (Strater) doing these; and the sketches already done are A.-i. 

Not for the Vulgus. There'll only be about 60 copies for sale; and about 
1 5 more for the producers. 

And so on. 

197: To William Bird 

Paris, (? December) 

Further developments. 

M.P., accompanied by a beautiful and 
distinguished American authoress, visited M. le 
Commissaire de police, dans son bureau, as invited. 
He discussed the sins of Scandinavians at length, 
also their propensities to dance above his head at three 

he pointed out that the Scandinavians also had a 
piano, ils ne sontpas des musiciens mais ils 
jouent au piano. 

After some discussing M. le Commissaire wrote: 
Monsieur {Pound) repondquilest compositeur de musique 
et quilest nicessaire quit fosse du bruit, 
that he makes no more noise than habitually. 
No further developments save that M. Antheilhas 
continued the composition of his second violin sonata, 
and broken the — bflat base hammer of his Steinway 
(' a good tough * piano). 



198: To William Bird 

Florence , 10 April 

Dear Bill: Yrs. to D. to hand. There seems nothing to do but print 60 
copies with Strater designs (or 70 copies) and the rest with plain red letters. 

Or better, let me have proofs of all designs to see how they have come 
out. 2 were O.K. (once). 

I never sanctioned any loveknots in the lower right hand corner. I tried 
to get Mike to do something decent by confining him to the caps. Restricted 
space to intensify output. 

The 'A' and the 'H' were O.K. in one stage, but the quality of the line 
wd. depend on final form. You understand Fm not worrying so long as I 
am absolootly helpless. 

I do want at least ten copies either with plain red caps (all) or with plain 
red caps (some) and the Mike ornaments on the caps that have come out 

My other letter was too brief, but I was trying to hold down to essen- 
tials. I appreciate the quality of the printing, paper, presswork — every- 
thing that you have done. But with some standing as art critic, I can't 
sanction all them damn curleycues and Mike's relapse into the same state of 
idiocy he was in when I first found him. All you can now do is, I take it, to 
print some copies with Strater ornaments and some either wholly without 
'em or with those that I can approve. For which purpose of approval, for 
XTs his sake send me proofs of all the ornaments now (proofs needn't be 
made on press). — / — / 

At any rate my minimum demand is 20 copies that I can approve, i.e., 
with plain red caps in place of designs that to my mind offend. 

The 4 A 9 and the *W were O.K. in the last form I saw them in. The 
small *T* was excellent. 

Have probably been god damn fool to trust design to man not working 
straight in medium. Only the lead blocks of black and white do occasion- 
ally come out extremely well. (And the small * T' was O.K.) 

About the C P\ Can't have the tail to it in my copies. Print yr. 70 and 
R 257 


The Criterion wants me to send in stuff; i.e., that is in London; the The 
Criterion has to be so heavily camouflaged as Westminster Abbey, that the 
living visitor is not very visihle. On the other hand, imperfect Paris is still 
breathing, respiring. 

The Three Mts. is following this prose series by a dee looks edtn of my 
Cantos (about 16 of 'em, I think) of unrivalled magnificence. Price 25 
dollars per copy, and 50 and 100 bones for Vellum and illuminateds. 

It is to be one of the real bits of printing; modern book to be jacked up 
to somewhere near level of mediaeval mss. No Kelmscott mess of illegi- 
bility. Large clear type, but also large pages, and specially made capitals. 
Marse Henry (Strater) doing these; and the sketches already done are A.-i. 

Not for the Vulgus. There'll only be about 60 copies for sale; and about 
1 5 more for the producers. 

And so on. 

197: To William Bird 

Paris, {? December) 

Further developments. 

M.P., accompanied by a beautiful and 
distinguished American authoress , visited M. le 
Commissaire de plice, dans son bureau, as invited. 
He discussed the sins of Scandinavians at length, 
also their propensities to dance above his head at three 

he pointed out that the Scandinavians also had a 
piano, ils ne sontpas des musiciens mais lis 
jouent au piano. 

After some discussing M. le Commissaire wrote: 
Monsieur {Pound) repondqu'ilest compositeur de musique 
et quilest nicessaire quit fosse du bruit, 
that he makes no more noise than habitually. 
No further developments save that M. Antheilhas 
continued the composition of his second violin sonata, 
and broken the — bflat base hammer of his Steinway 
(' a good tough ' piano). 



198: To William Bird 

Florence, 10 April 

Dear Bill: Yrs. to D. to hand. There seems nothing to do but print 60 
copies with Strater designs (or 70 copies) and the rest with plain red letters. 

Or better, let me have proofs of all designs to see how they have come 
out. 2 were O.K. (once). 

I never sanctioned any loveknots in the lower right hand corner. I tried 
to get Mike to do something decent by confining him to the caps. Restricted 
space to intensify output. 

The 'A* and the 'H* were O.K. in one stage, but the quality of the line 
wd. depend on final form. You understand Fm not worrying so long as I 
am absolootly helpless. 

I do want at least ten copies either with plain red caps (all) or with plain 
red caps (some) and the Mike ornaments on the caps that have come out 

My other letter was too brief, but I was trying to hold down to essen- 
tials. I appreciate the quality of the printing, paper, presswork — every- 
thing that you have done. But with some standing as art critic, I can't 
sanction all them damn curleycues and Mike's relapse into the same state of 
idiocy he was in when I first found him. All you can now do is, I take it, to 
print some copies with Strater ornaments and some either wholly without 
'em or with those that I can approve. For which purpose of approval, for 
XTs his sake send me proofs of all the ornaments now (proofs needn't be 
made on press). — / — / 

At any rate my minimum demand is 20 copies that I can approve, i.e., 
with plain red caps in place of designs that to my mind offend. 

The 'A' and the *H' were O.K. in the last form I saw them in. The 
small *T' was excellent. 

Have probably been god damn fool to trust design to man not working 
straight in medium. Only the lead blocks of black and white do occasion- 
ally come out extremely well. (And the small * T ' was O.K.) 

About the *P\ Can't have the tail to it in my copies. Print yr. 70 and 
R 257 


then mutilate the block by removal of tail at line marked and omission of 
design. Or else use the old device of ordinary small cap in square. 

Only do for gawd's sake bear in mind that I want nothing that will hit 
you financially and that I do appreciate your activity in the whole matter 
and that I am not indulging and will not indulge in any soul tantrums, 
romantic qualms, hysterias, etc. Merely that I must have a few copies of 
the book that won't turn my stomach. As far as the collectors go, the value 
of the book will be only higher. There will be fewer ornamented copies 
and only those in the know will get the plain letter copies, author's 
approval and autograph. If the plain ones aren't snapped up at once, they 
will be sold at the tail end when the price has been raised anny howe. You 
said each sheet wd. be — what was it? — individual hawl, so that removal of 
ornament after 70 copies have been printed oughtn't to complicate yr. life 
very much. 

Henry's last pathetic note was to the effect that he hoped to please me 
and that he didn't care a cuss about the subscribers. 

Lacrymae return. 

And don't let's be dahn hearted. 

199: To William Bird 

Florence^ 17 April 

Deer Bull: 1. 1 had no intention of giving away 20 copies. I wanted 'em to 
be sold to people who won't stand Mike's illustrations and who will sit on 
my chest and bellyache about 'em tomorrow an' tomorrow an' tomorrow. 

I enclose Mike's letter which might be taken as licence to eliminate 
superfluous muck — such as the love knot in lower right hand corner. Also 
if we can't — for technical reasons have a few clean copies, it seems to me 
all the more reason for cutting away offending parts: i.e. 1) the love knot; 
2) the tail of *P'; and 3) the extra scene across top of page: P . 

It will be perfectly easy to do this, though I see (and saw) that it wd. 
probably be too difficult to effect composition of lines inside the loop of 
the'P.' — / — / 

Oh yes. Point was to restrict Strater to design. Instead of staying in the 
design, he has wandered all over the page. I know that he started in correct 
ambition to make the page good as a whole. But it has in this case bitched 
the original idea. He said in his letter that the stuff had got 'sophisticated 9 
i.e., apparently lost all quality. 


1924— aetat 38 

Re yr. last: the only course now open is to cut away superfluous rub- 
bish. Ci inclus: the tail of ' P' and the scene across the top of the page. And 
other such delenda in other caps. Such operations as can be performed by 
simple scission and omission. Considering the amu of work you have put 
into the matter, I don't see why you want the edtn. damaged by retention 
of same. As to the quality of line in the 'P', it is equal to any 1890, Walter 
Crane hammered brass. — / — / 

As to work: I have had to scrap a full year's work more than once. That 
is what art is and why it is so damn rare. Mike may think he has spent a 
year on this job, but most of the year he spent on his private life. 

Certainly the edtn is to stay within the 100. The 20 copies I mentioned 
were intended to come out of the 100 (careful reading of my last effusion 
shd. (?corroborate) this), and to be for sale. 

However, as you point out so Konclusively diat the block has to be the 
same in all copies, that is washed off. And we concentrate on elimination — 
economical, but severe. And you leave Mike to me. 

Do you want me to write him? I can't until I see the whole set of letters 
anyhow. And ha J come to conclusion that it wd. be waste effort and there 
wasn't enough likelihood of his ever learning anything to make it worth 
the postage and expenditure of time. 

As to how much time you are putting into the job, I think I can guess. 
As anybody who has ever made a good job of anything knows the last 2% 
of excellence takes more time than the other 98%. That's why art and 
commerce never savvy one another. 

200: To William Bird 

Assisi, 7 May 

D.B.: Do recall that the title of that book is * A DRAFT of 16 Cantos for a 
poem of some length.' If you will stick to that you will produce something 
of gtr. val. to collectors. Also it ain't an epic. It's part of a long poem. Yr. 
best ad is the quiet statement that at auction recently a copy of Mr. P's 
ALumeSpento published in 1908 at $1.00 (one dollar) was sold for $52.50. 
No use selling people things on false pretences. The collector will prefer 
this half-time report on the poem to a pretended complete edition. 



201: To William Bird 

Rapallo, (? November) 

Dear Bill: Better put it nemo obstabat. 

Re Studio. If Hem don't want it, can yr. friends find 2000 fr. recompense 
for beds, cookstoves, electric wiring? Or how much can they find? 

I don't suppose the landlord (lady) will accept the same franc rent again, 
but equivalent in $'s. It is now only $1 5 a month; it was $30 when we took 
it. Also do yr. friends want the cat} And will they let me leave Koum^'s 
big picture until further notice? If they dislike it, they can put it face to 
wall on gallery. 

Now to something serious. I am leaving this address for parts unknown 
and they've got to damn well stay unknown. Mail from friends will reach 
me with 48 hour delay. As this wd. be inconvenient for 3 Mts. Press, I con- 
fide to you that my address is now: Albergo Monte Allegro^ Rapallo. 

But keep it to yourself. Stuff sent to the (Hotel) Mignon and callers 
arriving there will reach me soon enough. 

I suppose nemo is declinable and nil isn't. Error by bhloody analogy. 
Anyhow, I haven't any works of ref. to hand. 

No. The Studio is not viewable till I get back. 

I am not yet working full six cylinders, but am considerably nearer alive 
than when you last saw me. 

202: To R. P. Blackmur 

Rapallo, 30 November 

Dear Mr. Blackmur: Adagio ! Give me a little time, perhaps I may even 
manage a little cosmogony. The first impression of life is somewhat 
chaotic. Mind you, I can't at this stage guarantee to indicate the curvatures 
of Euc- or non-Euclidean space with a precision that will satisfy the Ecole 
Polytechnique. And we agree, je crois, that one can no longer put Mt. 
Purgatory forty miles high in the midst of Australian sheep land. 

Why the 100 readers? There were only five men hanged with Villon, or 
rather without him. Nobody can pay 25 dollars for a book. I know that. 
I didn't make the present economic system. The book, of course, can't be 
made for 25 bucks. Not if Strater and Bird and I were to be paid. That is 
not the point. 


1924— aetat 39 

Neither is it my fault if America is so mentally and spiritually rotten as 

to permit filth like S and Article 211 of the U.S. Penal Code to lie 

around empesting the atmosphere. 

My American publishers do not exist. It becomes more and more 
evident that the American publisher must be left out of one's calculations. 
Likewise English and henglish publishers. There may some day be a 
cheaper continental edition. One hopes that the Three Mts. and McAl- 
mon's press in Paris will lead to some more general system of printing 
over here. At least I have suggested the matter. I do not, personally, intend 
to devote much energy to it; and as I see things at present, I shall never 
again take any steps whatever to arrange publication of any of my work in 
either England or America. Tant pis pour les indigenes. They will have to 
cure their own sores and spew out their idols. 

There will be a public copy of the XVI in the Malatestiana at Cesena, if 
Dazzi consents to house it for me. Dad has typescript of XVIII and XIX, 
but I do not want them commented on^yet. Etc. 

203: To Wyndham Lewis 

Rapallo^ 3 December 

Wall, ole Koksum Buggle: I have just, ten years an a bit after its appear- 
ance and in this far distant locus, taken out a copy of the great magenta 
cover'd opusculus {BLAST). We were hefty guys in them days; an' of 
what has come after us, we seem to have survived without a great mass of 
successors, save possibly the young Robert (not with the terminal -s) and 
in another line the young Gawge (Antheil). (I think I asked A.B. to 
deliver you a copy of my leetle Blarst on that subjek.) 

I have never been converted to your permanenza or delayed dalliance in 
the hyperborean fogs, ma! ! Having rejuvenated by 15 years in going to 
Paris and added another ten of life by quitting same, somewhat arid, but 
necessary milieu, etc. . . . 

Am also letting out another reef in my long job. Installment of which 
should soon be inspectable. XVI have gone on, I think with more kick, 
since arrival here. 

Question being (now that we have emerged, or if you like, now that I 
have emerged) from varia, that you found alien: Can we kick up any 
more or any new devilment ? ? 

I am going down to Etna, d.v. in a fortnight. Have you any sugges- 



tions?? I don't know what the you are doing. It strikes me 

that ten or a dozen black designs about the size of this type sheet wd. be 

(Can't remember whether I have ever discussed Strater's initials with 
you. Need something for press, etc. etc. etc. proportion of design lines to 
type. Lot of boring detail — had to be . . . between printer and ornator.) 

Neither here nor there, but perhaps ten or a dozen designs for the two 
cantos dealing with Hell might be circulatable. As that section of the poem 
can not be circulated freely. 

You did years ago in Kens. Gds. discuss a book of verse and designs. In 
this case it wd. be designs only but with cantos as reference. 

You will readily see that the 'hell' is a portrait of contemporary 
England, or at least Eng. as she wuz when I left her. 

I don't know that the designs need have much to do with the text, or 
anything. Merely that I have failed on various occasions in attempts to 
ram unrelated designs of yours into the continental maw; and shd. like a 
try at ramming designs related, or supposed to be related to something 
that had already gone in. 

The de luxe had more than paid for itself some time ago. 2 of 100 buck 
copies had gone when I last heard, and requisite number of the 25, also 
some of die 50. 

Anyhow, wait till you see the text, and if you approve, or if it starts you, 
I shd. be glad to try either to make Bird print 'em, or to get some other sort 
of ballyhoo in action on the matter. 

Have also iron in fire for some more general sort of publishing that the 
3 Mts. offers and more satisfac. than afforded in Eng. or Am. pub. circles. 

(In parenthesis, I aimed a kick at that D.B. this morning. 

This purely en passant. Of no importance. Really a country that will 
tolerate that pyper for any purpose, even that of wiping pigs' arses, is 
beneath the jo level.) 

It rained yesterday, the feast of St. Bibiana. That is said to mean rain for 
forty days. So that I shd. have leisure to attend to your correspondence if 
there were any Benedictions. 

P.S. You understand this suggestion of designs for the hell is merely an 
idea that came to me as I was writing this note. If you can think of some- 
thing better, blaze away. Only I think the idea often or twelve blacks of 
size that cd. go by post, and that cd. be done in line block, might be useful. 
No use trying to drag JJ.A. or W. Robs, or anything or anyone else into 
it. The rest of our companions presumably have belonged to the decade 
just past. Apart from Robert and young George I think the rest of the 
buds have disappeared in unblossomed fragrance. 


1924— aetat 39 

Whether we can produce further and larger detonation by a new com- 
bination I leave to yr. wisdom to konsider. 

I can't and don't believe in Mr. Ingres. In-gress. Nor Seurat, nor 
Greco, nor ... oh damn it all. . . . 

I am not very sure about Cfaanne. But I like Rousseau's Baboons, and 
the warts on Feddy Urbino's nose. 

And I think . . . some of the chunks of Manet's execution picture ...??? 
The Timon, on Plate V of BLAST, still looks O.K. etc. 

204: To William Bird 

Taormtna, 26 December 

On further consideration, better not send copy Cantos to Hardy. He may 
drop off at any moment. Don't want the hell to fall into the wrong hands 
until there are enough later chants to bring it into proportion with the 

Lov to Sally. An a 'appy New Year. 




20 j : To James Joyce 

Stracusa, 21 January 

Can't make out whether Jean de Gourmont wants to translate it or wants 
me (porca santa) to trad. In any case as he is a gentleman, send him a line. 
His firm ought to do Dubliners. Also you might smoke 'em up to start the 
series of continental editions of contemporary English books — before 
Berlin does. 

P.S. J. d. G.'s address is 71 rue des Sts. P£res, in case his handschrift is 
more illegible than mine. 

206: To William Bird 

Palermo, 25 January 

Dear Bill: Bozze reed. Complimenti. Much finer than I had expected. 
Also various things of Henry's look O.K. in double page [drawing] that I 
had disliked in single [drawing]. 

He has the larffff on us for p. 16 [drawing] because it wd. have goed 
better the way he meant, only we fergotttt abaht the * C ' on the next page. 

Vurry noble work. And up to date no misprint of any importance — only 
an 1 for an o at the end of Piccinini, where it don't matter a cuss. Mos' 
remarkable. Even the subject matter don't seem so objectionable. 

II. Have you a spare page 31 (Canto IX)? Preferably with red. It don't 
matter about the type. I shd. like to send that sheet to the ole archivista at 
Ravenna who made me the sketch of the ox-carts. Don't think he reads 
English. Want enough of page to show him it is part of a book, not a 
detached picture. Can be sent folded once from top to bottom, but not up 
the perpendicular middle of page. Not matter of life and death. But if there 
is a spare slip of that page, on the top arf, can you send it? 

III. — / — / Am much more pleased than I Xpected to be. And satisfied 
with Strater where I had before been worried abaht his effex. 



Engkore mes compleemengs. 

Also size of bok. is pleasant. Can be held on lap, not too heavy, and type 
read at that distance. A bhloody ghood job. After awl yr. night sweats. 
Placuit occulis. 

207: To Simon Guggenheim 

Rapallo, 24 February 

Dear Sir: Permit me to congratulate you on the terms in which your 
Memorial Foundation is announced. For the first time I see an endowment 
that seems to have a chance of being effective. That is to say, the terms of 
the announcement do not of necessity imply defeat of the announced 

Are you going to pick the men who can do the work? 1 mean to say, an 
American college picks a football team or a rowing crew intelligently; they 
take men who have the capacity for the job. 

Every other educational endowment, at present, tends to produce medi- 
ocre students and to stop the good man just as soon as he starts. Thousands 
of music students paid, and hardly one composer, possibly no composer of 
merit. In literature, situation worse. 

The most damnable and idiotic reply I ever received in my life was from 
my old professor, Schelling, when I was trying to persuade him to admit 
some men of literary ability (proved ability) to the benefits of the literary 
scholarships of his dept. He wrote me: 'The University is not here for the 
unusual man.' 

This reply is beyond imagination if you consider what civilization is 
and what the Renaissance was. And that you can no more get results in 
art, literature, the amenities, from mediocre minds than you can get ath- 
letic records from mediocre bodies. 

I am not writing thus hotly, and thus without form and due introduc- 
tion, on theory. I have in my eye and have had for some time, flagrant 
cases of men of unusual ability hampered, infamously hampered, by finan- 
cial stress, while hundreds of mediocrities swallowed up America's heavy 

In the case of T. S. Eliot it may be too late to intervene. I don't know 
that the man's mind has been killed; he is fairly tough; but for ten years he 
has been entirely held off from research (that after full academic equipment 
and post grad. work). And his literary production has been reduced to a 
minimum, and that not of his best potentiality, from fatigue. 


1925— aetat 39 

I will go into details if you answer my letter. I have written unceasingly 
for fifteen years on this and kindred subjects. Literature and the arts are the 
best means of inter-communication; the most condensed, the least likely to 
be vain argument. 

The whole of our literature suffers from ignorance; and the American 
parody of German philology is often, most often, not a system of enlight- 
enment but a conspiracy to prevent the student from learning more than 
his teacher. 

The second case is George Antheil. I send you, separate, book on him. 
He don't need to be advertised, but as I have no money I can only take the 
indirect means. There are plenty of stage pianists; one has in the case of 
Antheil a man capable of making something; he ought to live in sanitary 
conditions, with piano and necessary instruments for experiment. I have 
given him what money I can spare (which amounts to nothing, a month's 
rent or so) but he ought to be kept a composer, not diluted into an 

I take it Marianne Moore of New York is another case where subsidy 
would be repaid. All these three people are known to be steadily indus- 
trious and capable of producing results. 

I don't know whether Wyndham Lewis comes within the scope of your 

Gaudier went to his death in the war, but John Quinn would have kept 
him if he had lived. 

I have a sort of right to ask these questions; I have my fifteen years of 
steady production and research (at my own charge and cost and with 
opposition rather than help) behind me; and the proof of this is in my 
published works. I want to know whether your endowment will consider 
the claims of exceptional men or whether it is to be limited by red tape and 
examination records. 

I will take any trouble you see fit to impose to present the claims of a 
few men whose work seems to be worthy of support. In each case the 
nominee is capable both of research, investigation, and execution. 

I know how these things go; I remember Harrison's scholarships for the 
'extension of knowledge,' I think the phrase is. I tried to discuss the matter 
with him (I had held a fellowship under the trust). All I could get out of 
him was that he 'knew nothing about the matter, he wished to erect a 
monument to his father/ 

As nearly as I can judge from the terms of your announcement, your 
endowment represents a new phase. You really want the goods delivered. 

The only way to make a civilization is to exploit to the full those indi- 
viduals who happen to be given by nature the aptitudes, exceptional apti- 



tudes, for particular jobs. By exploit I mean that they must be allowed to do 
the few things which they and no one else can. 

If this note is harsh, set it down to my desire for clarity; if disjointed, to 
a desire for brevity. (I can explain in a later letter any point that may arouse 
your attention.) And in conclusion: if there ever was a man who worked 
constantly and without reward for fifteen years for the very objects your 
endowment professes to further, I am that man. And as such might per- 
haps be allowed to help prevent wastage of ability. 

208: To H. L. Mencken 

Rapallo, February 

Dear Mencken: I might have written to you on this matter some time ago, 
except that one tried to get things done without bothering others. How- 
ever I seem to be so far out of touch with . . . etc. ... to such a degree, 
etc. . . . 

Will you have a look at Cheever Dunning's The Four Winds, clearing 
your mind of any impression you may have of his stuff written before this 

I sent it to Liveright with hope of getting it published, but L's advisors, 
whom I have always thought a set of goddamd idiots, seem to have carried 
the contrary. 

I am as aware as you will be that the opus is more or less in the dialect of 
Swinburne, Rubaiyat, Dowson, etc. . . . but I don't see that it matters (i.e. 
in this case). 

You are in better position than I am for placing the book, as you are less 
tied up with free verse affiliations (not that I have ever been fanatic on the 
subject of line length, but nearly everyone who has flocked about me is). 

I suppose the day labourers in the — vineyard no longer: hayfield — can 
see only one thing at a time. 

Annyhowe: I wish you would have a look at the mss. 

Dunning is 47, first case I have met where a chap has done mediocre and 
submediocre stuff up to such an age, and then pulled the real thing. (Mr. 
Eliot don't like it, but then he don't see either Yeats or Hardy); possibly 
Dunning is of our generation and concealed from the young. 


1925— aetat 39 
209: To R. P. Blackmur 

Rapalb, 26 March 

Dear Mr. Blackmoor: Stray bits of curiosity re unfinished work have no 
general utility. Or at least very slight utility. 

The question remains whether you are amusing yourself or whether 
you want to collaborate in la vie litt£raire, a vie rather more potential than 
actual, but still . . . one has a shot at trying to maintain it, now and again. 

I have, as you may know, spent a good deal of time trying to establish 
or maintain communication between the two sides of the Atlantic, to circu- 
late the better works of the day, etc. . . . 

McAlmon, who is possibly the most fertile of your contemporaries, is 
also the one who is now working harder than anyone else for the general 
utility, and distribution of interesting contemporary work. 

1. Why shouldn't you collaborate with a chap called Edwin Seaver, who 
writes to me from Woodstock, Ulster Co., N.Y.? 

2. With the Three Mountains Press, 19 rue d'Antin, Paris, ire. 

3. As to being of use to me ? ? You can't be any use re Cantos. The Three 
Mts. can look after them. 

There is, however, a certain amount of uncollected prose that ought, 
perhaps, to appear as a volume. Not on your private press, but from a 

There is the question of whether the eight Dial letters, which I happen 
to have reread this A.M. are more useful than Paulito's recollection of 
having sat on Sarah's lap. 

There is also a point that has not been raised: i.e., whether I haven't out- 
lined a new criticism or critical system. I don't propose to go back over my 
printed stuff, volumes, etc and detach this. But there is material for an 
essay, or a Ph.D. thesis, or a volume. 

Even if I had the time I shd. run against copyright and publishers' 
agreements if I tried to plunder several of my own volumes to make a new 
short book about the length of my AntheiL 

As to establishing any sort of milieu in America: it is not my job, and I 
can't be expected to see from this distance who could compose such a bear- 
able milieu. 

Both Seaver and H. S. Gorman have written me letters which 9how 
traces of intelligence. 

At the start a man must work in a group; at least that seems to be the 
effective modus; later in life he becomes gradually incapable<of working in 



a group. But in any case no one man can do everything, or be the whole of 
a milieu. 

A man, at the start, before he is committed to 78 separate and interlock- 
ing feuds, can often establish a communication between various camps, 
which an older man could not. 

1 don't know, from here, why various people in America seem to exist 
to total oblivion of each other: 50, 50, sometimes good reasons, sometimes 

Seaver seems to be the only person who wants to run something to 
take the place The Little Review had in 19 17. After eight or ten years one 
might suppose there was room for a little liveliness. Possibly in Paris? and 
not in the U.S.?? Of course, you may feel that you are isolated and with- 
out influence etc., but I doubt if you are any worse off than I have been at 
various periods, as before starting of Egoist, or in case of Z./?., etc., or 
when I was trying to get Dubliners into print or in minor cases unrecorded 
and not worth digging up. 

But whatever you want to do, you will I think find the following mode 
or procedure almost necessary. 

1 . Make up your mind what you want. 

2. Find two or three men of your own generation. 

3. Conspire, and incidentally find out what points you agree on, and 
what you consider essential, and what most important. 

4. Invoke the nearest power, not necessarily a very large one. Say in 
your case, a chap like Gorman who has some access to print. 

5. Remember that you can only put across one or two things, or 
authors, at a time. (Imagism had three specifications, but the 2nd., i.e., the 
important one, was omitted by the time the noise reached the boobs.) 

210: To William Bird 

Rapallo >, 18 August 

Dear Bill: Hemingway has been killed by a bull in Saragossa. 

Antheil on way to fighting in the Riff where he hoped to get a little 
experience and conduct an airplane attack, has been CRUSHED BY A 
CITROEN auto-caterpillar. 

McAlmon is standing for Parliament for division of Bermondsey and 
Scrope, on conservative ticket, by-election to unseat Joynson Hicks. Good 
chance of winning. 


1925— aetat 39 

Mr. Ford Madox Ford is personally supervising the erection of a ceno- 
taphary sarcophagus in his honour being erected by the Legion of 
Honour at Chantilly. 

Bill Bullitt has been copped by the high-jackers in Texas, but it is hoped 
he will recover. 

Stef has given birth to a son, at Lausanne. 

Thought you might like to know, but don't see that you can do any- 
thing about it. Mr. Joyce has gone on a yachting cruise in his son's steam 
yacht with sails called the Daisy Claire. It is rumored that there are no 
women among the party. Yrs ever contritely. 

211: To William Bird 

Rapalloy 24 August 

Deer Bull: If you will go thru the archives of the late Mme Rosen, o.b.e., I 
think you will find a Xtrak from the fascist organ of Rimini stating that the 
opus is a capolavoro magnifico. 

It was carried thru the village, not on a triumphal ox-cart draped with 
scarlet, but at any rate with due order by il Commandante. (I declined to 
see the sindaco, but expressed no unwillingness that he shd. gaze on the 

Marchetti stated that he had shown my poem 'anche a Domini Deo.' 

The copy was placed in the Malatestiana at Cesena by my own honour- 
able hands with fitting inscription, and various of the studiosi were later 
assembled (in my absence) and those who cdn't stumble thru English 'ad it 
hexplained. Dazzi very much surprised when I said Hell cantos wd. not 
travel thru American post. (That shows what a proper Dantescan educa- 
tion will do for a man. He said no modern Eyetalian wd. have the guts to 
do 'em. That they were of a vigore propriamente Americano.) 

They really need the Geryon to elucidate 'em. 1 read Dazzi the Sidg., 
the Hell and the new typescript (Geryon) XVIII and XIX (which you 

The copy was not sent from yr. office to Cesena; that is prob. why you 
have no official record. Copy sent here, and I toted it over. 

Thanks for the Malatesta Roma and Japan sheets reed. Am sending the 

Roma to il Commandante; and ascertaining whether the museum is ready 

to frame and hang the vellum. If it ain't, they will do very nicely here. Am 

glad to see the vellum, with space enough to see the proportion; couldn't 

s 273 


get full effect in print shop. I see some reason for the vellum edtn. I also see 
that the Whatman takes a better imprint than the Roma, but the stink !!!!!!! 
and the transparency of the paper seem to me to make it most ondesirable 
sort of paper to print anything but obstetric woiks on. — / — / 

212: To William Bird 

Rapallo, 1 1 November 

Deer Bill: — / — / Do you want story of my meeting with Carson the 
Desert Rat, in 1910, before he made 20 millions? I can't have it spoofed, or 
Frank Harris'd or presented as a search for Irriwaddi basketwork patterns 
by an intrepid searcher of the Afrikan sands. I think it might save you 
thinkin up a weekly article, but decline to supply the data unless you agree 
to use it soberly or not at all. Supposing Carson is the inventor feller I 
knew, I do, however, appear to have picked a winner, the one and only 
time I ever tried to pick one outside the purlieus of aht and letters. Alas for 
art and letters that thru no fault of mine or the inventor's the deal did not 
go thru in 1910. Ace. to last reports C.G.C. is now sittin in a sailor's 
boardin house in Frisco, with 20 millions and not a gawddamn idea what 
to do with same (but firmly and rightly determined not to be diddled). 
I don't know whether it is a case for Wm. Ivy or for the late H. James. 

However, you can let your fancy play as to the course of modern art if I 
had had an income, esp. during the 1912-14 period, Epstein, Gaudier, 
Lewis, and also to lesser extent, litterchure, with printing and distrib. 
facilities. And, later, Brancusi's temple etc. Mewsikal seasons, etc. 

And in lit. we suppose the moral effect of all the and demi- 

standin' round, hopin' and trying to do right. 

Of course, I shd. by now have been puffikly insufferable . . . ma . . . that 
don't hinder the play of fawncy. Besides it is not good publicity at the 
present stage of our campaign (if you call it that), die point being to in- 
flame in public mind with the idea of lettin* us spend its money in a intelli- 
gent manner. And therefore not a matter to play die ass about. 



213: To E. E. Cummings 

Rapallo, 10 November 

Dear Cummings: Three weeks of bad weather, driving one off the tennis 
court and the general spread of Vinalism thru the 'field of murkn licher- 
ture,' possibly resurgence of early and perneecious habit, have driven me 
to consider a infinitesimal review as ' outlet/ 

I suppose you ought to be consulted about it. I shd. like to have you at 
hand to parody my editorials before they get into print; the difficulty of 
getting any simple fact or idea into terms simple enough for transmission 
even to the smallest conceivable number of subscribers . . . etc. . . . 

It will not, need we say, pay. I shall probably offer head money, but no 
rates. Spectamur agendo; or rather, not by the act but the effect shd., etc., 
the value be judged. 

In your case I shd. incline to overlook your early misfortunes. 

I wonder if Bishop and his scholastic friends have done any more Pro- 
venjal philology (a little of it might be useful to annoy my more modern 
collaborators ... if I get any). In fact, any measures that wd. save the pro- 
posed affair from the monumental pomposity of both our generations. 
(Parenthesis: can't afford suppression or stoppage by Customs House, at 
the outset.) However, the natural functions are probably known by now 
to the majority of our possible readers. 

Is there anyone whom one ought to have, that all of our honoured, per- 
haps too highly, contemporaries absolootly refuse to print at any price? 

I don't want anything people can sell, or that they wd. find useful to 
them in keeping the wolverine from the portals. (Neither do I want slabs 
of ' work in progress ' unless there is some vurry speshul reason for it.) 

Can't announce publication till I get at least three items of interest. 

P.S. No objection to perfectly serious articles if the authors thereof 
have anything to say. 

In yr. own case, you needn't feel obliged to keep up to your godawful 
reputation for cleverness (perhaps you find it rather constricting at 
moments . • . like, let us say, Possum's rep. for decorum and subtlety). 
There were bits of The E. Room that were good and not in the least bit 



214: To James Joyce 

Rapallo, 15 November 

Dear Jim: Ms. arrived this A.M. All I can do is to wish you every possible 

I will have another go at it, but up to present I make nothing of it what- 
ever. Nothing so far as I make out, nothing short of divine vision or a new 
cure for the clapp can possibly be worth all the circumambient peri- 

Doubtless there are patient souls, who will wade through anything for 
the sake of the possible joke . . . but . . . 

having no inkling whether the purpose of the author is to amuse or to 
instruct ... in somma. . . . 

Up to the present I have found diversion in the Tristan and Iseult para- 
graphs that you read years ago . . . mais apart 5a. . . . And in any case I 
don't see what which has to do with where. . . . Undsoweiter. 

215: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo , 15 November 

Dear Harriet: Have been looking through your last 18 or more numbers, 
find many of 'em uncut. 

My impression is that you have tried ladies' numbers, children's num- 
bers, in fact everything but a man's number. And that you tend to become 
more and more a tea party, all m£res de famille, only one fallen woman 
among them (and 'er with the sob of repentance). 

You might as well admit that trying as you may to be catholic, you miss 
being any kind of arena for combat; you get a general air of mildness. One 
rich barry tone (Mr. Cullen) in all that soprano . . . and the rest, requested 
to lower their voices as it might wake popper if they was to sing out. 

Fraid I will hav to take the bad boys off your hands and once again take 
up the hickory. 


1926— aetat 41 
216: To James Joyce 

Rapallo y 19 November 

Cher J.: Sorry, I dunno no lawyer. I cabled my father to start proceedings 
against Roth last winter; but he didn't as he found it wd. be expensive. 
However I did succeed in getting my name off the cover. (In return for 
which reed, several obscene and abusive missives from the impeccable 

You are in worse shape than I was as you have taken money from him 
. . . and you have known for some time that he was a crook. All I can sug- 
gest is that you write to as many papers as possible, denouncing Roth, and 
stating that text is garbled and unauthorized. There is no known way of 
getting at R. as he has only 'desk room', i.e. comes in now and again to 
get his mail in an office containing forty other desks (probably of various 
flavours and integrities). 

I mean if you go to law you have nothing to get damages from. 

Are you in communication with Collins?? If so, can you get any in- 
formation from him about the art collector, Barnes. Don't say it is for me. 

Re your own affair: certainly write (typed letter; they won't read you* 
script) and sign your letter to N.Y. Post. That is your best way of annoy- 
ing R. 

Also you better stir up Jane Heap. It is to interest of Little Review as 
well as yours to stop Roth. I have no friends in America. I don't know 
whether McAlmon is in N.Y.; you can organize a gang of gunmen to scare 
Roth out of his pants. I don't imagine anything but physical terror works 
in a case of this sort (with a strong pull of avarice, bidding him to be 

He had nothing to make out of me, so consented to remove my name 
from his title page, after I had written to various offices protesting against 
his use of my name in his ad. That however was not fear of the law, he 
merely saw he had more to lose by having me on the war path than to gain 
by having my name on his sheet. 

The man is quite clever. He has more interest in the matter than your 
lawyer wd. have. 

Your only weapon is firmly abusive campaign in the press. 

Also you can write to Roth, threatening action. You will get a good 
deal of impertinence in reply but still. . . . 

You can also state in your letters to press that Parts a/Ulysses that were 
printed before suppression are copyright, and that you are proceeding against 



Roth. (That may make his subscribers nervous about receiving future 

However, you have a skunk to deal with and the perfume will possibly 


217: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 30 November 

Dear Harriet: I have not, at the moment, any strong objection to visiting 
America. I shall probably be horrified if or when I do get there. It is pro- 
bably infinitely worse than anything I am prepared for, despite my being 
prepared for anything within the range of my imagination. . . . But still 
... the risk is not a particular deterrent. 

As to lecture tour: the question is simply: what wd. it pay? I can not 
afford to do it on the cheap. If I blow all that energy, I have got to have a 
few years free from worry after it. 

Poverty here is decent and honourable. In America it lays one open to 
continuous insult on all sides, from the putridity in the White House down 
to the expressman who handles one's trunk. 

I don't care to place my head under the guillotine or my feet under the 
trolley wheels. — / — / 

Poor Walsh; carried his desire of expression perhaps . . . however . . . 
(not having seen the poem in question, I can't judge as to the aptitude of 
his objection). After all he came down on my head in Poetry (as also did 
Carnevali, years ago), and he more recently annoyed Mr. Hemingway, 
etc. ... I can't take it very seriously. He had his merits and probably knew 
his time was short. Also in the midst of his farragos he occasionally said 
something amusing. Tout 5a a une valeur. I don't think Walsh's cursing 
did anyone any harm. (For example, Thos. Hardy survives.) I never 
noticed the ref. to the anonymous *D.' until your letter called it (this 
instant) to my attention. 

W. was impulsive; the impulse more often generous than not; and 
nearly always at least grandiose. Better than Coolidgism. Though more 
obviously open to attack. 

Dunning was in Paris last summer. I was very busy with trying out bits 
of my opera, and saw very little of anyone. Dunning in good enough form 
to beat me two games of chess and draw one, I think, on the one occasion 
we had a little spare time. 

Yes, I saw your article, if you mean the one that says what a delightful 


1926— aetat 41 

writer I used to be, and what a shame I have probably petered out. Also 
you blame Wabash for doing in 1907 very much what you did in 1917, ne 

Miss Moorhead says she is bringing out another number of T(his) 
Q(uarter); I don't know whether she means to use the machine supple- 
ment I did for them or not. Will prob. be in better shape to discuss matter 
with yr. brother after it has come out. If she don't issue it, I am on the way 
(more or less) toward a book on 'Art and Machines', both plastic and 
acoustic phase. Perhaps your brother cd. help me on one or two matters 
when or if the said book materializes. 

Have never met Wescott. Thought he was one of The Dial's 'young 

Carnevali's address is II Cavalletto, Bazzano, Bologna, Italy. 

I don't honestly know anything more. His letters seem active enough. 
Last one was to thank me for a pile of books and old magazines, which 
were what he had asked for. (Last year he asked for clothes ... I don't 
know whether the difference in the request indicates a difference in degree 
of need, or only in quality.) 

I personally think extremely well of Mussolini. If one compares him to 
American presidents (the last three) or British premiers, etc., in fact one 
can not without insulting him. If the intelligentsia don't think well of 
him, it is because they know nothing about 'the state,' and government, 
and have no particularly large sense of values. Anyhow, what intelli- 

What do the intelligentsia think of Henry Ford? He has given people a 
five day week, without tying it up in a lot of theoretical bunk. I can't 
imagine any labour party consenting to the results; it puts such a lot of 
' secretaries ' out of a job. 

Re your question is it any better abroad for authors: England gives 
small pensions; France provides jobs. A ninth rate slob like Claudel gets a 
job as ambassador. Giraudoux, Morand, Cros, etc., etc., get quite comfort- 
able posts. Italy is full of ancient libraries; the jobs are quite comfortable, 
not very highly paid, but are respectable, and can't much interfere with the 
librarians* time. 

As to 'betterness,' if I were a citizen of any of these countries I wd. have 
some sort of appui, which is unthinkable in America. As for professor- 
ships??? I have not been overwhelmed with offers ... I reckon die danger 
is not imminent. 

You might devote a special number, poesy contest for best estimate of 
psychology of the man who paid 20,000 bucks for copy of Poe's Tam- 
mammwhatever it is. Interest on 20,000 bucks wd. keep a live writer for 



life. Wot these dastards lack is a little intelligence. Also I spose they want a 
quick turn over. 20,000 invested in Poe in 1850???? what price now? Try 
it on yr. financial edtr. 

P.S. What has become of A.C.H. ? 

218: To James Joyce 

RapallO) 25 December 

Dear Jim: I answered S(ylvia) B(each)'s letter explaining why I do not 
care to sign your protest. I.e. I consider it a miss-fire, that omits the essen- 
tial point and drags in an irrelevancy. 

I am glad some use has at last been found for Claudel. 

I enclose a note that you can use as p.s. to the general protest. 

Merry Xmas and greetings to the family. 

219: To James Joyce 

Rapallo, 25 December 

My Dear Joyce: My only reason for not signing your protest is that I con- 
sider it misdirected. To my mind the fault lies not with Mr. Roth, who is 
after all giving his public a number of interesting items that they would not 
otherwise get; but with the infamous state of the American law which not 
only tolerates robbery but encourages unscrupulous adventurers to rob 
authors living outside the American borders, and with the whole Ameri- 
can people which sanction the state of the laws. The minor peccadillo of 
Mr. Roth is dwarfed by the major infamy of the law. 

You are perfectly at liberty to publish this statement or to make any 
use of it you think fit. Parts of Ulysses are protected, as they appeared in 
an American periodical, were copyright, and were not suppressed. I under- 
stand that Roth has reprinted these parts, in which case he is liable to due 



no: To James Joyce 

Rapallo, 2 January 

Dear J.: First number of my new periodical designed to deal with various 
matters not adequately handled elsewhere has gone to press. I don't see 
that it can be much direct and immediate use to you. It comes out 3 times a 
year, so that serialization is out of the question. 

I think, and always have thought, that the 'sample of woik in prog' 
stunt was bad. The transat. did it because there simply wasn't enough copy 
to fill the so large review. 

If I had an encyclopedicly large monthly, the kewestion wd. be differ- 
ent. Present view is that your daruk pool shd. be sold whole on Ulysses 
and that further distribution of bits wd. do final sales more harrum than 
good. However, I may be wrong. The law-court bit, livens up. 

Wot I nevurtheles suggess re the oncoming review is that it will do no 
harm to have it circulate freely to such as will pay for it. There are plenty 
of seguidores after the act; but it can do no harm to establish a means of 
communication that in case of emergency will not have to stop, to hem, 
to haw, to whit, to whom, etc. 

Notice of forthcoming novels, romans, etc., can be conveyed and at any 
rate, the air of ambiguity so . . . shall we say . . . widely ambient . . . etc. 
. . . vb. sap. 


Rapalbj 13 February 

Dear Sisley Huddleston: Trust you noticed that 25osocialists were arrested 
after the Antheil concert in Budapesth. Tis, we ween, such stuff as nooz 
are made of. 

The young rip is now loose somewhere in Italy with cat, rucksack, no 
proper clothing and nothing deeply resembling an address. O (lga ) R (udge > 
stood (as the Eyetalians say) to give a Mozart concert in Rome; but judg- 
ing from telegrams, mainly indefinite and illegible, the young Antheil will 



prob. arrive in time to stop it. Also with Casella out of Rome, as O.R. has 
long been trying to ram Antheil down Cs thorax or into his concerts, it 
is to be presumed that they will thrust his music incontinent upon the 

As G. A. is due to sail to N.Y. on the 24th for orchestral show and as his 
American manager is worrying him for publicity and as he passes it on to 
me, I also, leaning toward your vaster bulk, offer the facts to your 

I am telling ces jeunes gens to send you their photos and program (if 
you don't want same, chuck 'em into the scrap and blame it on me). 

Possibly the vision of G. A. arriving on platform in walking togs, with 
cat and rucksack, to somewhat annoyance of the blondine young gent, 
engaged to play Mozart piano parts, etc., perhaps all this is too picturesque 
for your high-class and uplifting journals. (And I am not sure you didn't 
tell me you do not descend to illustration by photo . . . but I am taking the 

If you want any more definite data, I will try to have any sent you after 
the fact, by post or wire. 

The show takes place on the 19th at the Sala Capuzucchi, Rome. 
Antheil or no Antheil. Saturday afternoon. 

It is all very bouleversant, as A. was expected to go from Buda to Paris 
in an orderly fashion. Not, of course, that I ought to feel paternal responsi- 
bility in such cases. . . . 

Part of the beauty of my anticipation is the vision of the young pyanist 
already, I believe, engaged for the show. He is tall, tr£s blond, trfes beau, 
composes a bit on his own and fawncies himself a good deal. He has a 
name like Circus Maximus. Of course, he may refuse to walk on. It all 
offers 'colour,' perhaps lit. val. rather than news val. 

The Roman pianist, for one so young, is very classic in his taste; the 
Italians only discovered Strawinsky last year. . . . 

One shouldn't be nasty about it. Respighi is personally charming. 
Strawinsky I suppose is not (judging from looks, tho I have never met 
him). Etc. — / — / 

222: To William Bird 

Rapallo, 4 March 

Dear Zsoiseau: Yrs. with the camels to hand. 

Wot can you do with Olga's Mussolini business? Have now more 


1927— aetat 41 

Do you want to syndicate Miss Gibson's full article? The Herald 'has 
been goddam silly. Miss G. sent 'em the stuff last Friday, with a lot of 

Olga pulled it off on her own (no Embassy or Murkn Academy strings) 
after young Gawge's departure. Muss prefers classics, but O. did what she 
cd. to pave way for Antheil audition later, bringing talk round to modern 
music and machines. The lowdown Greek Rhooshian Amphitheatre tried 
to crab Gawge and spake contempshus of people who take piano for 'per- 
cussion instrument.' 'So it is, 9 sez Muss, taking the wind out of Mons. 
Circus Minimus. 

223: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 23 March 

Note the underlined from ' Wings,' advertisement of Licherary Guild. 

That is, the selections for one year will probably contain six books of 
fiction (novels and short stories) and six selected from history, bio- 
graphy, travel, essays, science, and public affairs. 
Van Doren, Glenn Frank, Z. Gale, J. W. Krutch, Henrik van Loon, 
Elinor Wylie. 

I dare say it is the best they can do; but they all (??) represent second- 
rate taste and 2nd-rate aspiration. No need of raising that point. Point for 
you is that they exclude poetry. Point for me is that they represent the 
parochial standard; but pass that. They are the present equivalent of 
' Concord' group of the last century. At least I bet halluf a dollah on it. 

Probably they couldn't get off one vol. of poetry with their eleven best 
sellers anyhow; and if they did they'd pick Eddy Guest. 

Question is: can Poetry organize a similar scheme; not of course print- 
ing the books, but selecting 6 vols, of poetry a year (prob. better begin on 
six) and getting combination price from the publishers in return for distri- 
buting a (few) thousand copies of each? 

And get a jury with at least one member who has heard of an inter- 
national standard of values, who don't think pathriotism consists in pro- 
tecting the inferior product but in bringing it up to top level and making 
it bite on the nail. 

How many subscribers have you?? What percent of 'em would agree 
beforehand to say 10 bucks a year for 6 vols, of selected poesy? If there 



were a thousand, even expensive books like Personae could be supplied in 
paper or cardboard back at that rate. I mean books that came inside price 
would be uniform with general edition and expensive books cd. be done in 
cheaper paper and binding from the same plates. 

This might take a little time. The immediate thing is to cry ' haro ! ! ' in 
about two lines and quote the Lit. Guild exclusion. Or even better (don't 
say the idea comes from me) print the Lit. Guild exclusion and a query: 
Are there as a start iooo readers of Poetry who want to combine in 

co-operative buying of the best poetry published? 

The scheme presents difficulties and suggestions are in order as to 

how it can best be managed. 

Please say whether you are for it unconditionally; whether you want 

only new books; or whether you want us to start with a group of six of 

the best vols, already published. No harm in doing both. 

Census: Eliot, Sandburg, Bodenheim, H.D., Carlos Williams, Pound. 
Go on, fill out list. I spose everybody has Spoon River. 

i st, you've got to see how many will subscribe. 2nd, if the publishers 
will issue special edtn. for the co-op ters — extra 1000 — at special price. 

An offer on six good names for delivery in 4 months' time might lead to 
possibility of a second list of newer people. Rorty, Cullen, whoever they 

I dunno who is going to be bloody well bored by being jury. I spose Bill 
Williams has the necessary pathriotism. I spose I'm the goat, having pro- 
posed it. I suggest Bodenheim or some irreconcilable to keep it from get- 
ting dead and academic and ladylike. 

At any rate ifl am roped in I've got to have one other live member on a 
committee of not more than six. I spose there'll have to be one soft-shelled 
weeping rube to keep in touch with the great heart of the republic. You 
get roped in as the only person who reads all the rot pubd, not as jury but 
as executant. If you're too weary of combat, you might let M. Strobel or 
Dillon branch off and take charge of the show (not Hen. Fuller, too old; 
the thing wants someone active). — / — / 

224: To Homer L. Pound 

Rapallo, 11 April 

Dear Dad: — / — / Afraid the whole damn poem is rather obscure, especi- 
ally in fragments. Have I ever given you outline of main scheme ::: or 
whatever it is? 


1927— aetat 41 

1. Rather like, or unlike subject and response and counter subject in 

A. A. Live man goes down into world of Dead 
C. B. The ' repeat in history * 

B. C. The 'magic moment* or moment of metamorphosis, bust thru 

from quotidien into 'divine or permanent world.' Gods, etc. 
In Canto XX, fragment in Exile. Nicolo d'Este in sort of delirium after 
execution of Parisina and Ugo. (For facts vide, I spose, the Encyclopedia 

' "And the Marchese 
was nearly off his head 
after it all."' 

Various things keep cropping up in the poem. The original world of 
gods; the Trojan War, Helen on the wall of Troy with the old men fed up 
with the whole show and suggesting she be sent back to Greece. 

Rome founded by survivors of Troy. Here ref. to legendary founding 
of Este (condit (founded) Atesten, Este). 

Then in the delirium, Nicolo remembers or thinks he is watching death 
of Roland. Elvira on wall or Toro (subject-rhyme with Helen on Wall). 
Epi purgos (on wall); peur de la hasle (afraid of sunburn); Neestho (trans- 
lated in text: let her go back); ho bios (life); cosi Elena vivi (thus I saw 
Helen, misquote of Dante). 

The whole reminiscence jumbled or 'candied' in Nicolo's delirium. 
Take that as a sort of bounding surface from which one gives the main 
subject of the Canto, the lotophagoi: lotus eaters, or respectable dope 
smokers; and general paradiso. You have had a hell in Canti XIV, XV; 
purgatorio in XVI etc. 

The 'nel fuoco' is from St. Francis' 'cantico': 'My new spouse placeth 
me in the flame of love.' Then the remarks of the opium smoker about the 
men who sailed under Ulysses. 

'Voce profondo': with deep voice. 

And then resum£ of Odyssey, or rather of the main parts of Ulysses' 
voyage up to death of all his crew. 

For Elpenor, vide Canto I. 

Ear wax, ears plugged so they couldn't hear the sirens. 

Neson amumona, literally the narrow island: bull-field where Apollo's 
cattle were kept. 

Ligur aoide: keen or sharp singing (sirens), song with an edge on it. 

That gets most of the foreign quotations. 

Tan mare fustes: is Roland's remark to moor who comes up to finish 
him off, as nearly as I can remember his sword is broken, fcut he smashes 



the moor over the head with his horn (olifans: elephant: olifant tusk) and 
then dies grumbling because he has damaged the ornaments on the horn 
and broken it. Tan mare fustes, colloquial: you came at a bad moment. 
Current cabaret song now: J'en ai marre: I'm fed up. 

Any more ke-weschuns? ? ? 

As to the Rodker: I rather think he gets more into the 90 pages (that 
makes the complete nouvelle) than most novelists get into 300. How- 
ever. . . . — / — / 

225: To H. L. Mencken 

Rapallo, 27 April 

Dear Henry: Something ought to be done about this scoundrel Roth. 
Damn his impertinence. Bloody crook; and the American copyright law is 
a worse crook than he is. 

Strikes me that you people who pay your authors are as likely to lose by 
this impertinent piracy as any one else. If he merely swipes everything that 
isn't copyright, he can obviously undersell 'honest enterprise.' 

A man named Vestal has put up a decent bill that wd. stop Rothism. 
Somebody ought to get out and root for it. 

Also you, confound you, with your columns on asinine legislation 
ought to dig out Article 211, U.S. Penal Code. You can find it in my 
Instigations if you haven't it elsewhere. 

226: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 24 September 

Dear H.M.: Re your last private communication on the subject of pipe 
dreams. I have never said you could make poesy out of dollars. I have — 
any time these past twenty years — said that certain methods could be used 
advantageously for the amelioration and increase of works of art. The 
effect shows more in arts other than poetry, where the artist is bound by 
material need in his actual production. I mean he has to have expensive 
raw material, paint, stone, a good fiddle, or he has to hire or have hired 
expensive executants for musical or dramatic representation, 


1927— aetat 41 

A few kicks are probably good for the poet, but it is not proved that he 
should receive a steady stream of them from cradle to monument. Mae- 
cenas did not pick the two best poets of his time, but it has taken 2000 
years to start a reaction in favour of the fellow he missed. 

Dante was better than Petrarch, but the fact can not be blamed on the 
gents who asked Petrarch to dinner. 

From the patron's angle, Giusto de Conti and Bassinio were the best 
poets of their day. There will be no celebrations on their cinquecenten- 
nials, but neither will there be celebrations on the cinquecentennials of any 
of their contemporaries; they stretched their legs under the same table that 
had received Pier della Francesca, Pisanello, Giovan Bellini, Battista 
Alberti, Mino da Fiesole; and the young Bassinio, at least, profited, pre- 
sumably in head as well as in stomach. 

I have never contended that the American millionaire or ' ploot ' was an 
idiot. I have said and still maintain that he is an uncivilized barbarian 
usually unpleasant and never interested in the arts. He will endow any 
number of 'institutions' employing any number of boneheaded dullards 
with 'degrees,' in order that they may still further befuddle the young. He 
will, in rarer cases, express his dislike of the arts by committees. 

If he or she be that curse of god, the 'amateur,' he or she will express his 
or her dislike of the arts by trying to present his or her dablets in lieu of 
the better contemporary work. 

And in proof of bluff we have but to observe the 'hard-headed' 
American business man when really interested in something and wishing 
to improve the quality of creation. Thus Time for Aug. 8 re Col. E. H. R. 
Green (son of Hetty) who is interested in aviation. Sic loquitur Green: 
'I want young fellows with good ideas and no money ... to feel that there 
is a place where they can come. I will grub-stake them when their ideas 
appear sound and let them perfect and experiment. If they develop any- 
thing marketable, they can take it out and it is theirs.' 

That is to say he knows what he wants, he expects to be interested in 
seeing it happen now and not in A.D. 2547 under the auspices of a com- 
mittee appointed by the trustees. He is not making a collection of the 
extant fragments of the war-machinery found in Byzantium or of models 
of Leonardo's project for a monoplane. Neither does he expect to have 
apoplectic stroke when some fellow invents something he hadn't thought 
of. Q.E.D. 



227: To Glenn Hughes 

Rapallo, 26 September 

Dear Dr. Hughes: Your letter (7th inst) has crossed mine. 

It wd. not interest me in the least to write my literary autobiography. 
You might put one of your students onto the job; wd. probably educate 
him a good deal, but I don't see how that form of retrospection cd. be 
expected to count as part of my own mental life, and I have no inclination 
to start dying before it is necessary. 

As to contemporaries, since you ask it, I will, privately, go so far as to 
say that Lawrence was never an Imagist. He was an ^mygist. Ford dug 
him up and boomed him in Eng. Rev. before Imagism was launched. 
Neither he nor Fletcher accepted the Imagist program. When the prospect 
of Amy's yearly outcroppings was by her assured, they agreed to some- 
thing different. This is not an attack on L's ability as a writer but merely to 
emend the statement in yr. circular. 

The name was invented to launch H.D. and Aldington before either had 
enough stuff for a volume. Also to establish a critical demarcation long 
since knocked to hell. 

T. E. Hulme was an original or pre-. 

Bill Williams was as 'original' as cd. be managed by writing from 
London to N.J. Flint was the next acquisition, tho' really impressionist. 
He and Ford and one or two others shd. by careful cataloguing have been 
in another group, but in those far days there weren't enough non-sym- 
metricals to have each a farm to themselves. Several others have since 
faded. Lawrence wasn't asked, and Fletcher declined. 

The test is in the second of the three clauses of the first manifesto. 

Even this amount of reminiscence bores me exceedingly. 

228: To James S. Watson, Jr. 

Rapallo, 20 October 

Dear Watson: It is impossible for me to accept an award except on Cantos 
or on my verse as a whole. 

It would also be foolish, I think, to send in a prose squib or a criticism 
of some Whifflepink like friend Morand. There has been no definite 


1927— aetat 42 

request for Cantos, but there is no other verse available, and will be none. 
The available detachable sections are Canto 22 and the part of 27. XXII is 
probably too frivolous for your purpose. I suggest that you use the 
XXVH by itself; it will take less room and probably cause less friction. It 
is also possible to take the Gibraltar fragment, by itself, from point begin- 
ning 'And a voice behind me in the street' on page 17 (or red 3). 

As the immediate appearance in the Dial is largely a formality perhaps 
the XXVII will serve. 

It wd. be stupid to make the award on prose-basis as my prose is mostly 
stop-gap; attempts to deal with transient states of Murkn imbecility or 

229: To Glenn Hughes 

Rapallo, 9 November 

Dear Hughes: On reading over my translation of Ta Hio, it strikes me that 
the acrid and querulous preface I had sketched is a bloody impertinence 
and that any attempt to force local application, talk about need of present 
America, etc., bloody bureaucracy, etc. etc., would be a damned imperti- 
nence. I mean tacking my bloomink preface onto the work itself. Hope 
you'll agree. 

Seems to me it will be introd. enough if you say in the prospectus: 
In this brochure (or chapbook) Mr. Pound does for the first of the 

Confucian classics what he did, in Cathay ', for Rihaku. 

Any question of method or interpretation of ideograph can wait for or 
be referred to Fenollosa's 'Essay on the Chinese Written Character.' 

Thanks for the Japanese poets. I like it. In fact the first clean translation 
from Japanese I have seen since I did my own job with Fenollosa's re- 

I wonder if Iwasaki is trained in No or if you and he want to undertake 
revision of my redaction of Fenollosa's paper on the Noh (or No; better I 
think spelled with the V to avoid homograph with simple Murkn 

Don't know whether you know the work (pub. by Macmillan, now out 
of print). I think Fenollosa did a lot that ought not to be lost. I had not the 
philological competence necessary for an ultimate version, but at the same 
time Mrs. F's conviction was that Fen. wanted it transd as literature not as 

Whether it wd. be more bother than worth to go over it and correct 
errors, I know not I might want to look over result and possibly re-revise, 
T 289 


though judging by 3 Jap lady-poets, not to any gt. extent. General prin* 
ciple of not putting in mere words that occur in original when they contri- 
bute nothing to the sense of the translation. 

One wants a Jap on the job, and one wants a Jap who knows Noh. I shd. 

like to protect Fenollosa from sonzovbitches like X and in general 

from the philologs who were impotent till Fen. showed the way (via 
y.v.t.) and who then swarmed in with inferior understandings. 

I am perfectly willing to split the proceeds with you and Iwasaki, 50/50. 
Mainly depends on how much revise and correction Iwa. thinks the work 

If the work were copper-bottomed and guaranteed correct in every 
detail, I don't think there ought to be difficulty in getting a good publisher 
or in making it a 'standard work on the subject.' I take it you don't pub. 
large vols. Would try this on Harper or Scribners' I think. 

At present it is the scattered fragments left by a dead man, edited by a 
man ignorant of Japanese. Naturally any sonvbitch who knows a little 
Nipponese can jump on it or say his flatfooted renderings are a safer guide 
to the styge of that country. 

This offer is intended as a compliment. 

Re the preface to Ta Hio: I don't think I ought to use Kung as a shoe- 
horn for a curse on American State Dept. and the Wilson-Harding 
Administrations, etc. At least thass the way I feel this A.M. 

Re printing: I think text of Ta Hio shd. be one size type and commen- 
tators' remarks (including my own) another, or possibly better italic. I had 
thought of having three sizes: 1) Text; 2) Comment; and 3) transfer's 
notes; but think it would prob. make ugly page. 

Re preface: Wot's use telling 'em they are damn sick? I mean I prefer 
trying giving 'em the medicine; if they don't feel better after it or don't 
feel they needed it, woss use telling 'em ? 

Re the 'Written Character': Will enclose it, or better send it on in a day 
or two. I have permission from Liveright to use it in any way we like. I 
think it ought to have separate printing apart from huge bulk of Instiga- 

Re Ta Hio: Everything one tends to put into a preface merely tends to 
draw red herrings across trail. Most of what I had written wd. merely raise 
irrelevant issues re state of America, damnd perversion of Constitution, 
sonsovbitches in office, of collapse of Xtianity, goddamnability of all 
monotheistic Jew, Mohammed, Xtn. buncomb, etc. 


Cut it aht. If they can't see from the text, they won't see any better from 

being irritated by my irritability beforehand. 


1927— aetat 42 
230: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 29 December 

Dear H.M.: Orl rit, you put in your bloomink feetnotes, you follow up 
and stick in this answer: 

Madame: The point of view taken in your footnote to my article in yr. 
December number is precisely the point of view that I do not take. It 
appears to me to be the 'remains of bourgeois mentality.' I mean that I do 
not consider the practice of poetry any more degrading than the practice 
of chemical research, and I consider original composition rather more im- 
portant than the writing of semi-ignorant theses about the work or 
laundry-lists of deceased authors. 

In our several thousand of nearly useless institutions of learning no 
student has ever been known to reject a scholarship or fellowship or any 
form of endowed sop. In fact, budding millionaires often grab them with 
great joy in order to slew off an inferiority complex and show that they are 
just as good as the sons of the proletariat. 

If you wd. once divest yourself of the notion of the author as an object 
of charity or of the feeding of authors as a form of preservation of the unfit 
and arrive, even if slowly, at the idea of 'aiding production.' Confound it: 
production ! 

Am I expected to respect either myself or anyone else because some 
graduated ribbon-clerk offers me 75 bucks for writing blah in a false-pearl 
and undies monthly? 

Did any 100% Ohioan ever offer Burbank a large salary to interrupt his 
work and write ads for the local florist? 

There is one source of confusion, namely that a man can get more for 
doing rotten writing than he can for doing rotten chemistry. The stan- 
dards in science are easier for examiners to get at: or at least they are sup- 
posed to be. The confusion between the scientist and the fake is less likely 
to occur. But this should not be allowed to obscure the whole and main 
difference between stimufotingproJuction and pampering the producer. 

Between definite individual desire to stimulate the arts (which means 
Maecenism) and pure communism there is only a middle ground of 
muddle, blah, sentimentality. Pure communism seems unlikely to affect 
the U.S. in our time, pending which I suggest emergency measures on a 
line known to be quite efficient. But for gawdzake cut out the idea of the 
highschool boy and his gilded medal. 



231: To Ren£ Taupin 

Vienna, May 

Cher Monsieur: Naturellement, si vous accordez une inversion du temps, 
dans une relativity Einsteinienne, il vous semblera probable que j'ai r^u 
Pid£e de Pimage par des po£mes d'H.D. Merits apres que cette id£e etait 
rfjue. Voir les dates des livres divers. 

J'ai tant 6crit et public k ce sujet — et je ne peux pas 6crire sans machine k 

En 1908-9 k Londres (avant le debut de H.D.): c^nacle T. E. Hulme, 
Flint, D. Fitzgerald, moi, etc. Flint, beaucoup fran^ais-ifi^, jamais arriv£ k 

condensation. ( . ! Symbolistes francais > les 'ooV k 

\ avoir centre ) J T 7 



veut dire^equivalence 

Technique de T. Gautier in ' Albertus.' 

Mais tout 5a, j'ai imprint. Voir Pavannes et Divisions et Instigations. 

Est-ce-que on peut causer? — ici maintenant ou k Rapallo en Juillet? 

Po&ie anglaise (la langue meme) < k racines fr. 

consider elements de la langue: 


latin (£glise — loi) prin. 

franjais 1400 

latin scientifique 

greek „ 
Influence fr. sur moi — relativement tard. 

Rapports fr.>eng. via Arthur Symons etc. 1890. Baudelaire, Verlaine, 

F. S. Flint special number Poetry Review, Londres 191 1 ou 1912. Fort 
difference entre Flint: (tolirance pour tomes les fautes et imblcilitls des 
pofttes franjais). Moi— examen tr£s s£v&e--et intolerance. 


1928— aetat 42 

Soi-disant 'imagists' — 'bunch of goups* trop paresseux pour supporter 
siviriti de mes premiers 'Don'ts* et du clause ame du manifeste: 'Use no 
superfluous word/ 

Certes progris du technique po&ique. — Fr. en avant. Gautier ' Albertus', 
England 1890- 1908. Ce que Rimbaud atteint par intuition (g£nie) dans 
certains po£mes, 6rig6 en esth£tique conscient (??peut-etre) — je ne veux 
pas prendre une gloire injuste — mais pour tant que je sais. J'en ai fait une 
esth&ique plus ou moins systimatique — et j'ai pu citer certains po£mes 
de R. comme exemple. (Mais aussi certains po£mes de Catulle.) 

Et c'est certain que k part certains proc£d£s d'expressior — R. et moi 
n'avons point de rassemblance. Mais presque toute I'exp&imentation, tech- 
nique en po&ie de 1830 — jusqu'i moi — £tait faite en France. 

En fait de 'pontes,' c'est une autre affaire. II y avait Browning (mSme 
Swinburne), Rossetti, E. Fitzgerald, qui s'intdressaient plus qu'aux sujets k 
la mattere k exprimer nouveaux qu'aux proc£d£s d'expression. 

Vous avez en Poetry, Chicago, (1912, je crois) ma premiere citation des 
Fr. contemporaines. Temps des unanimistes. 

Avec toute modestie, je crois que j'&ais orient^ avant de connaitre les 
pontes frangais modernes. Que j'ai profite de leurs inventions techniques 
(comme Edison ou aucun autre homme de science profite des dicouvertes). 
Y'a, aussi, les anciens: Villon, les Troubadours. 

Vous trouverez en mon The Spirit of Romance, public 19 10, ce que je 
savais avant d'aborder les Fr. modernes. 

C'est probable que la France a appris de l'ltalie et de l'Espagne. 
L'Angleterre de la France et que la France ne peut rien absorber ou 
apprendre de l'anglais. (?Probl£me — pas dogme.) 

Autre dissociation k faire: quelquefois on apprend, ou subit 'influence' 
d'une idee — quelquefois en lutte contre barbarisme, on cherche un appui 
— on s'arme du prestige d'un homme civilisi et reconnu pour combattre 
l 9 imb£cilit£ am&ricaine. 

J'ai cit£ Gourmont, et je viens de donner une nouvelle version du Ta 
Hio de Confucius, parce que j'y trouve des formulations d'id&s qui me 
paraissent utiles pour civiliser 1' Am&ique (tentatif ). Je r£v£re plutot le bon 
sens que l'originalit^ (soit de Rimy de G., soit de Confucius). 

Pour y revenir: Je crois que la po&ie franjais soit tres difficilement racine 
d'une bon po&ie anglaise ou am£ricaine, mais que la technique des pontes 
franjais £tait certainement en 6tat de servir d!iducation aux pontes de ma 
langue — du temps de Gautier, jusqu'i 1912. 

Que les pontes essentiels 9 k cette £tude, se rtfduisent k Gautier, Cor- 
btere, Laforgue, Rimbaud. Que depuis Rimbaud, aucun poite en France 
n'a invent^ rien de fondamental. Y avait des modifications interessantes, 



des presque-inventions, des applications. (Voir Instigations ou mon 
numlro de Little Review sur Pontes Franjais.) 

Je crois que Cocteau, que vous glorifiez comme metteur-en-sc£ne et 
nlgligez comme fort bon pofcte mineur, a fait quelque chose pour lib&er 
la langue fr. des ses manchettes (JPoisies 1920). C'est pour la langue 
franjaise — parfaitement inutile pour nous autres qui ^crivons en am&icain 
— veut dire: invention d'utilit£ locale. 

Peut-Strevous aurez un instrument de pensee. Si vous vous proposez la 

Est-ce-que il existe une langue anglaise pourexprimerleslignes de Rim- 
baud? Je ne dis pas un traducteur capable de le faire, mais est-ce-que cette 
langue existe? (comme moyen) — et depuis quand? 

De cette balance, vous devez trouver les relations justes — au moins du 
c6t£ technique. 

Si vous voulez, vous pouvez m'envoyer votre etude avant de Timprimer 
et alors je pourrais indiquer les differences de vue, ou les erreurs (si y en 
aurait) de fait, de chronologie mineure, etc. 

P.S. Je crois que ma s£v£rit£ sert mieux la reputation de la lit. fr. que tees 
Ipanchements des francophiles ou parasites qui cherchent a faire passer les 
mauvais pontes fr. au premier rang. Qu'on batit une gloire plus sure, en 
voulant presenter les auteurs solides (meme si de nombre restreint, qu'en 
y ajoutant les flaques, les gonfles, etc.) 

Je crois que Eliot, dont les premieres poesies ont montre influence de 
Laforgue, a moins de respect pour Laf. que le respect que j'ai pour Laf. 

Gautier j'ai etudie et je le r6v&re. Ce que vous prenez pour influence de 
Corbtere est probablement influence directe de Villon. 

„ de Tailhade, superficielle. 

„ „ Jammes !! j'esp&requenon. 

Quant aux sonnets? Catulle, Villon, Guido Cavalcanti, des Grecs qui 
n'etaient pas Pindar, des Chinois. 

Und iiberhaupt ich stamm aus Browning. Pourquoi nier son p&re? 
Symbole ? ? Je n'ai jamais lu ' les id£es des symbolistes * sur ce sujet. 
Dans ma jeunesse j'avais peut-etre quelqu'id^e rejue du moyen 4ge. 
Dante, St. Victor, dieu sait qui, des modifications via Yeats (ce dernier 
plein de symbolisme miconnu — via Boite, symbolisme frangais, etc) 
mais je ne sais pas dlnuder les traces. 

Je ne me rappelle rien de Gourmont au sujet de 'symbole/ 
Ma riformex 

1. Browning — d£nu£ des paroles superflues 
a. Flaubert — mot juste, presentation ou constatation 


1928— aetat 42 

Riforme m^trique plus profonde — date de 1905 on commence avant de 
connaltre Fr. modernes. 

J'ai 'lanc£' les Imagistes (anthologie Des Imagistes; mais on doit me 
dissocier de la decadence des Imagistes, qui commence avec leurs antho- 
logies post&ieures (mSme la premiere de ces anthologies)). 

Mais 'voui': Yidie de l'image doit 'quelquechose' aux symbolistes 
fran9ais via T. E. Hulme, via Yeats<Symons<Mallarm£. Comme le pain 
doit quelquechose au vanneur de bl£, etc. 

Tant d'op£rations intermddiaires. 

Mais aussi k Catulle (pas Mendfe) — Q. V. Catullus — qui avait une con- 
ception fort nette il ya plusieurs mille ans. 

Mais ma connaissance des pontes fr. mod. et ma propagande pour ces 
pontes en Am£rique (1912-17-23) venait en sens general apres Pinception 
de rimagisme k Londres (1908-13-14). 

Je crois que Tinfluence soit de Laforgue (par Eliot) soit de Maupassant 
sur l'Am&ique est souvent assez de 2me, 3me, 1 5 me main. 

232: To H. L. Mencken 

Rapalbj 3 September 

Respected Mencken: Thanks fr. yr. brotherly words. You 'advocate' the 
severance of Maryland, but do I not set example by action? At any rate the 
State of Pound did very largely sever 20 years ago. It is the only state in 
which I have any preponderant authority or even influence. My weight 
with Vare wd. be less than a milligram. And with the Borah of my native 
mountainy fastnesses ! ! ! Even my mild arguments with natives still there 
resident have failed to rouse up an assassin. 

I spose my murkn correspondents reveal to me things they wdnt. tell to 
the local Y.M.C.A. sees, or to the alderman of their villages, i.e., that I am 
prob. as well informed as to the events in our vaterland as I wd. be if in 
residence there. 

I dunno wot I cd. shoot on publicke questions, more'n what you do 
yourself. I believe I have introduced the word bureaucrat into the nashunul 
langwidge. At least an editor I met in Vienner hadn't heard of there being 
any govt officials until I told him. Yaas, I told him there wuz. He said they 
caused no discontent in his N. Y. circle. 

I'm puffickly willing to fire depth-charge at any time if anyone wants to 
read the sound of my syllables. Mr. Villard still thinks Pm a lily-carrying 



aeeesthete with green hair and blue whiskers. He only let me in on Sundays 
and holidays. I do what I can to keep the Bill of Rights waving above the 
Paris office of the Chicago Trib. (heaven knows what they print on the 
Lake front). 

I go for days, at times even weeks (not probably very plural) without 
likker; but shd. hate to feel I had to square the cop or the local J.P. every 
time I wanted to buy a box of Lowney's chocolates or have a little rosso 
with my spaghetti. 

Besides all this bloody business must cut into one's time. Hell ! ! ! ! ! 

States Rights, surtunly, sah. But if not them, at least our own. 

233: To James Vogel 

Rapallo >, 21 November 

My dear Vogel: Were any of the things mentioned in yrs. of 8th and 9th 
inst. otherwise, I shd. not have bothered to give yr. name to Zuk. 

The science of groups is as follows: at the start you must find the 10% 
of matters that you agree on and the 10% plus value in each other's work. 

You ' all ' presumably want some sort of intelligent life not dependent on 
cash, and salesmanship. 

Take our groups in London. The group of 1909 has disappeared with- 
out the world being much the wiser. Perhaps a first group can only pre- 
pare way for a group that will break through. 

The one or two determined characters will pass thru 1st to 2nd or third 

I mistrust . . . .n, not from fault of heart, but that he is sterile. All his 
groups have had sterilizing effect on themselves. A critical ideal. No use 
starting to crit. each other at start. Anyhow it requires more crit. faculty to 
discover the hidden 10% positive, than to fuss about 90% obvious imper- 
fection. You talk about style, and mistrusting lit. socs. etc. Nacherly. Mis- 
trust people who fuss about paint and finish before they consider girders 
and structure. 

Recently reed, book from Milan with dedicace: from Scheiwiller, 
employee, publisher and messenger boy. He at least hasn't waited to make 
his pile, he is a clerk in Hoepli's, but he is also publisher of * Chirico, 
Prampolini, and I don't know who else.' 

Also if you yell loud enough, if you get Mrs. S to weep loud 

enough over copyright infamy, you can have yr. books printed here. Or 


1928— aetat 43 

cave in the U.S. printing prices. You have got to damn and dynamite the 
American censorship and customs interference. It all hangs together. As for 
rich fat ladies, don't try their intelligence. Tell 'em the arts are being 
murdered by copyright infamy, printing costs, customs barriers, copy- 
right lack of law. If they try to act and fail, the sheckels may flow. In any 
case effort wd. educate 'em. 

Money won't do a damn thing in the arts by itself It can't. The essential 
is inside the artist. Don't fergit diat. He really has the whip hand. 

As you say, the murkn intelligentsia is soft. It is not organized, and 
hasn't the ghost of a suspicion of how much power (latent) it has. 

However, I ought not to have to tell 'em the first, second, third, fourth 
and fifth times. Someone on the spot ought to start telling 'em, and when 
they get to wavering point, let me come in as authority or reserve troops. 

It will economize some energy if what I write to you can be passed on to 
Zuk. etc I oughtn't to have to write the same thing twice when once wd. 

I have never heard of yr. Mrs. S. but if she is a banker's wife it wd. prob. 
be hopeless to tell her anything about literature, i.e. to educate her to know 
good from bad. These marginal people shd. be put to fighting general con- 
ditions: the gen. conditions are: copyright, custom, art. 21 1 of Penal Code, 
and cost of printing. 

The first three to be fought openly. The third to be attacked via subsi- 
dized plant. I.e., one that needn't pay rent, that hasn't sunk capital in its 
machinery, that is manned at least in part by volunteer staff, or amateur 
staff, or people who write and can take some of their exercise on working 
the press. They won't be scabbing the printers, as they wd. be doing work 
not done by printers, i.e. not taking work from them. 

The worse a book is the more it ought to cost to print. 

Don't worry about some 2nd rate bloke getting praised. What if I had 
sat down and wept over the booms of Abercrumbie and Fuggis ! ! 

Ole Hen Ford has seen several points that wd. be useful in la vie 
litt&aire. I.e., anteriority of production to blurb. 

There were 16 millions that did not elect Hoover. It takes about 600 
people to make a civilization. There were umpteen billions of unbreached 
barbarians in the north woods when Athens etc. . . . 

If the 243 Americans who ever heard of civilization wd. quit crabbing 
each other and organize, it wd. be a start. To hell with what somebody else 
isn't doing. 

As Yeats has said: ' Fortunately they don't know we are here, otherwise 
they wd. abolish us all.' 

Re p. 2 yrs. Nov. 9. 



What a good man gets from another man's work is: precisely the know- 
ledge that the other man has done a job, and that he, the first man, need not 
do that same job or an imitation of it, but is free to do his own job. 

The utility of education or of knowing the subject is mainly to know 
what one needn't bother to do. The pt. from which one can start to do one's 
own bloody bizniz. 

The ones with nothing to say get scared, are afraid to recognize the 
qualities of others for fear there won't be a place on the bandwagon for 
themselves, etc. No good work ever knocked out any other good 
work. It is the pikers who get knocked off and who get uneasy when a 
good job is done. Etc. 

Point of group is precisely to have somewhere to go when you don't 
want to be bothered about salesmanship. (Paradox? ? No.) 

When you get five men who trust each other you are a long way to a 
start. If your stuff won't hold the interest of the other four or of someone 
in the four, it may not be ready to print. 

Also at 24?? I came thru, if you like, at 23, but I had already known 
what I was at, for eight years. 

Etc. Got a pile of work on my head. 

234: To James Joyce 

Rapallo, 23 December 

Dear James: With respected greetings of the alledgedly happy but in 
reality rather frigid season. 

As a philological note: The Yeats alledges that in time past (80 or 90 
years ago) thou madest some traductions of the plays of G. Hauptmann. 

2ndly that these cd. not be used at the Abbey because it was then con- 
stitooted or red taped to do nowt but 100% green or Erse plays. 

If these juvenile indiscretions still exist the time may now have come to 
cash in on 'em. 

The noble Gerhardt (Hauptmann) is struggling both with Ulysses (im 
Deutsch) and with the germanly traduced works of Wm. He sez Ulysses in 
choimun is like looking at a coin through his microscope, can't see it cause 
it's aggrandized to such etc. • . . 

Seems quite as likely that it was Grillparzer or Ibsen that you'd 
traduced, but you might lemme have the reel dope on the sichoo- 



1928— aetat 43 

235: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo y 30 December 

Dear Harriet: Carnevali's minimum expenses are 40 dollars a month. His 
assets (including your 5) are 1 5 a month. McAlmon has paid his bills for, I 
think, four years, but can not continue. 

I am trying to get something from the Authors' League , 

and hope you will back me up. They can only give sporadic grants; not 

The case is so clear that I think someone like Mrs. Moody, etc., on basis 
of charity ought to be put onto it. 

As he never stops shaking, save immediately after his medicine, he 
obviously can not do any great amount of work. I don't know how much 
longer he can last. They told me in Bologna three years ago that the 
disease is incurable. With America reeking with money, some one ought 
to be found to deal with the matter. 

More cheering news items are that Aldington seems to have awakened 
from his slumbers. I may be sending you something of his, before long. 
Or he may be induced to take direct action, mdly, there is a new chap 
called T. McGreevy whose work Yeats admires. I think W.B.Y. intends 
giving him an introduction to you. I have myself seen a good poem by him 
in an Irish anthology. 



236: To James Vogel 

Rapalhy 23 January 

Dear Vogel: Yr. painfully evangelical epistle reed. If you are looking for 
people who agree with you ! ! ! ! How the hell many points of agreement do 
you suppose there were between Joyce, W. Lewis, Eliot and yrs. truly in 
1917; or between Gaudier and Lewis in 191 3; or between me and Yeats, 

If you agree that there ought to be decent writing, something expressing 
the man's ideas, not prune juice to suit the pub. taste or your taste, you will 
have got as far as any ' circle ' or ' world ' ever has. 

If another man has ideas of any kind (not borrowed cliches) that irritate 
you enough to make you think or take out your own ideas and look at 'em, 
that is all one can expect. 

Not that you or anyone else can work beside a chap that gives you the 

If it is any use, I slid, be inclined not to make an effort to bring out 
another Xile until one has seen whether Blues can do the job. Or do you 
consider this excessive on my part? 

I don't see that there is room or need for two mags doing experimental 
stuff ... at present moment. If Blues can bring out a good wad of Joe 
Gould it seems to me it wd. about cover the ground. 

The other 'find' was Howard Weeks; it don't show in Xile. His stuff 
looked as if it wd. be such a damn sight better in a few months, during 
which time he died. 

Blues had better take on McAlmon. Haven't seen anything new of 
Rodker's up to level of Adolphe. Besides it is not your job to print foreign 
authors. That can be done here. 

I personally don't want to write any prose for the next year or two or 
three. If you get Bill Wms., McAlmon, Joe Gould and the authors you've 
got, there ought to be enough solid core to carry the thing. 

Cummings and Hemingway and Callaghan are all doing the dollar a 
word or something of that sort. 

Seems to me a chance for the best thing since The Little Review and cer- 


1929 — aetat 43 
tainly the best thing done in America without European help. McA. is in 
Europe but the only reason he isn't printed in the U.S. is that he is so gol 
darned American they can't stand it. 

Gould, I believe, ought to be paid. I believe Blues has a little money in 
the chest? There are times when the difference between 5 dollars and zero 
is all the difference. — / — / 

237: To Charles Henri Ford 

Rapallo 9 1 February 

Dear C.H.F.: Every generation or group must write its own literary pro- 
gram. The way to do it is by circular letter to your ten chief allies. Find out 
the two or three points you agree on (if any) and issue them as program. 
If you merely want to endorse something in my original Imagist manifesto 
or the accompanying 'Don'ts' or in my How to Read that has just ap- 
peared in the N. Y. Herald ' Books,' simply say so. Or list the revered and 
unreverend authors you approve or disapprove of. 

Re my ' Program' 1 enclosed: A man's opinions are his own affair. When 
writing a poem he shd. think only of doing a good job. But a magazine is a 
public matter. It is there as mediator between the writer and the public. A 
magazine shd. think of the welfare of literature as a whole and of condi- 
tions in which it is possible to produce it. I shd. like you to print my 
'Program.' Note that it is civic not political. Not a question of messing 
into politics but of the writers or intelligentsia raising hell all day and every 
day about abuses that interfere with their existence as writers and that 
represent an oppression of literature by the stinking sons-of-bitches who 
rot the country. 

As to magazine policy: Most 'young' magazines play ostrich. They 
neither recognize the outer world nor do they keep an eye on contem- 
porary affairs of strictly literary nature. 

1 Program 1929 

1. Government for utility only. 

2. Article 21 1 of the Penal Code to be amended by the 12 words: This statute 
does not apply to works of literary and scientific merit. 

3. Vestal's bill or some other decent and civilized copyright act to be passed. 
Footnote: instead of everybody's going to New York, ten or a dozen bright lads 
ought to look in on the national capital. We need several novels in the vein of 
Hemingway's The Torrents of Spring dealing not with helpless rural morons but 
with ' our rulers ' and the ' representatives of the people \ 



You shd. look at all the other poetry reviews and attack idiocy when it 
appears in them. The simplest and briefest form of attack is by a sottisier. 
As has been done by Mercure de France, New Age, Egoist and Am. Mer- 
cury. The only thing is that instead of Mencken's 'Americana' you shd. 
run sottisier confined to literary criticism. It is no longer my place to point 
out the idiocies that appear in Poetry, for example. The older boy shd. not 
stick pins into the younger. It is courageous of the young to stick pins into 
the pompous. 

Make your sottisier from Poetry and the main literary reviews, Sunday 
supplements, etc. 

These sottisiers are often the first parts of a live mag that people read. 
Let everyone collect 'em. 

As you don't live in same town with yr. star contribs, you can not have 
fortnightly meeting and rag each other. Best substitute is to use circular 
letters. For example write something (or use this note of mine), add your 
comments, send it on to Vogel, have him show it to Spector, and then send 
it to Bill Wms. each adding his blasts and blesses or comment of whatever- 
damn natr. Etc. When it has gone the rounds, you can send it back here. 

I don't see any Philadelphia group listed in yr. announcement. You 
might drop a line to Frank Audenbrand, c/o my father. 

You shd. look into Art. 21 1 and the copyright mess. If you don't want 
to attend to that part of the mag, get Vogel or Spector or some of the 
huskier and more publicke minded members to do the blasting. 

There is no sense in living in a country covered with * — . It 

distracts the mind from more interesting matters. Simplest method, dis- 
covered by the Romans or some earlier people, is to dig a good sewer at 
the start; and then turn you attention to architecture. — / — / 

238: To the Alumni Secretary of the 
University of Pennsylvania 

Rapallo, 20 April 

Sir: Your circular letter of April 8 is probably excusable as a circular letter. 
If it were a personal letter I shd. be obliged to correct it. 

Any news that the grad. school or any other 'arts' segment of the U. of 
P. had started to take an interest in civilization or 'the advancement of 
knowledge' or any other matter of interest wd. be of interest. 

The matter of keeping up one more otiose institution in a retrograde 


192.9— aetat 44 
country 9eems to me to be the affair of those still bamboozled by mendi- 
cancy, rhetoric, and circular letters. 

In other words what the hell is the grad. school doing and what the 
hell does it think it is there for and when the hell did it do anything but 
try to perpetuate the routine and stupidity that it was already perpetuating 
in 1873? 

P.S. All the U. of P. or your god damn college or any other god damn 
American college does or will do for a man of letters is to ask him to go 
away without breaking the silence. 

239: To John Scheiwiller 

Rapalby 26 November 

Dear Scheiwiller: The trouble is that 1 have never seen any of Modig- 
liani's work. He died in Paris while I was living in London. I know of his 
position and I know the work by reproduction, and I know how good 
artists respected him; but my respect for artistic criticism as such prevents 
me from having or printing opinions on what I don't know. 

I don't know what I can say. 

'Premature death of Modigliani removed a definite, valuable and emo- 
tive force from the contemporary art world.' 

If that is any use to you. ? 

240: To William Carlos Williams 

Rapalloy 2 December 

And now to speak of something conskruktive: Since my progenitors cum 
over here, I don't see any god damn American magazines cos nobody 
sends 'em. And\ shd. like to see the advertisement of one of those latest 
smallest lightest printing presses again. The kind advertised fer bizniz 
houses: € Do your own printing.' 

Old fashioned 'and press for marrvelous fine printing is no use az far as 
I'm concerned. To damn much work, technical skill, etc. 

Damn it, I oughtn't to have to bother with the thing at all; but the rest 
of the world is so lousy lazy that I may as well look into the matter. Self- 



inking, self-feeding, etc Something that wd. give a decent imprint (say as 
good as Exile or die French edtn. of my Antheil). Roller cylinder, of 
course. I.e., main want is to know if there is anything that can be worked 
with little enough bother to make it possible. Shd. also want to see a sample 
of work actually done by one of the b ... y things. Couldn't cost too much 
as it wd. certainly be idle most of the time; and no chance of 'merchanting' 
the products in any conceivable case. Some general idea of shipping costs 
etc. And whether agency exists in Europe or Italy wd. help, etc. 

Easiest thing for you wd. be to sight one of the ads. and drop note to the 
makers telling 'em to send me full an bloated particulars. 

Drawback mainly the feeling that if I buy the damn thing there will for 
eight years be nothing to print on it. 

241: To Agnes Bedford 

Rapalloy December 

I have done a great deal of work of plodding keraktur. If the G(uido) 
C(avalcanti) ever gets out of press, it should be a ' standard woik,' etc. 
Only great emptiness can produce profound scholarship. Und so weiter. 



242: To William Carlos Williams 

Rapallo, 16 January 

Dear WillYam: Zuk tells me that Reznikof has a printin press. In any 
kuntry but Murka this wd. solve a lot of problems. 

2. Untermeyer (and wife) is (are) here. He seems a man of good will and 
without hamstringing prejudice. Mrs. U. let off some sentiments the other 
evenin that might have fell from yr. own hnrd. lips. In fact I believe they 
in a dif. form have. I gather McA. handed him some rough stuff on first 
meetin, but he don't bear no mangy. 

Nancy (Cunard) has agreed to print Zuk's 'The.' Also wants some- 
thing of yours, as I indicated when writin to Z. so'z to save a week's time. 

In return for which virchoos aks peeraps you can shoulder the follerin. 

I invented the Poetry Clan. 1 Harriet and Co. hung crfipe until they 
found it wd. work. I have never asked 'em anything and they have never 
asked my advice. Have you any infloonz with 'em? 

It so happens that a chap named Macleod (not Fiona) has writ a good 
poem 70 pages long, i.e., too long fer Nancy and too long to print in 
Criterion or any review. I want the bloody Clan to do it. Naturally they'll 
have to see the ms., etc., but I have no reason to spose that any of their 
anonymous (god damn it, why anonymous?) committee will be able to see 
why it is good. 

Have yeow any snug-gestions ? 

As fer yr. guesses re Zuk and Mac: Z seems to be lookin fer more 

243: To E. E. Cummings 

Rapallo y 17 February 

Dear Cummings: Van Hecke is asking me to help him make up an 
American number of Variitis. I don't know whether you know the 

1 See Letter No. 223. 
U 3°$ 


review. It has weak numbers; but four or five together keep up a more 
lively average with less chapelle than anything else I see hereabouts. He 
seems to take my word for certain lit. values. 

I am expecting a set of yr. books that I ordered some weeks ago. I hope 
(praps vain optimism) to find an intelligent translator. In the meantime, I 
want your photo and any suggestions you have to offer re what bits of yr. 
work you would prefer to have translated into French; i.e., is there any- 
thing you think more representative than anything else or wd. prefer to 
see transd. before anything else? Or in^dit that won't pass censor in N.Y. 
and that needs European imprint (mag is pubd. Bruxelles) ? 

You might mention any one (or thing) you think ought to go in and 
whom or which I am likely to omit and* bibliography of yr. woiks. 

Photos illustrating the number to be mainly machinery, etc., plus the 
noble and rep. viri murkhani. Of course, if you have any really funny 
photos representing the habits of the American peepul, they cd. be used 
with advantage. I shd. like the number to be as good as my French number 
of The Lit. Rev. (1918), but the photos need not maintain the level of high 
seriousness demanded by our late friend The Dial. 

Van H. has already printed photos of Voronoff operation, the streets of 
Marseilles, etc. Bandagistes' windows also a favorite subject. 

If you have a photo of a Cigar Store Indian or can get one, it wd. be 
deeply appreciated. Our autocthonous sculpture is comparatively un- 
known in Yourup, though I suspect the c. (or segar) s.i. was possibly of 
Brit, or colonial origin. Van H. has got a lot of Berenice (Abbott )'s photos 
of N.Y. I don't know just what. Still he hasn't mentioned an Indian and 
B's prob. too young to remember 'em. 

244: To E. E. Cummings 

Rapallo, 25 March 

Yr Eimminence: One piece nicotine refined woodlady, 2 views, reed. Re 
'regress': priority claimed. Expressed thanks g& Sacher Zorach. Ever a 
pleasure to have something to decipher that airit dear Jim or oedipus 
Gertie. Bibliography duly registered. Competition of Soviet number 
VariitUs demanding all poss. pathriotic zeal. Mr. Rus. Wright appre- 

HELLass have Host the Uovelly pixture (helas only nzp cut) of nat. 
com. of largeladies visiting blanchhouse. 


i93°— aetat 44 

Wot's the Belgium for 'Yale?* 

Tears of nostalgi inwit welling at name of Patchin. Youth returns aged 
thorax. Cd. use yet again more seegar Injuns. N.Y. Herald Paris has beat 
us on Coolidge: one of Cal. with parrot that in onconscious humour 
defies concurrence. Besides one might find something of more topical 

P.S. Does a venerable figure called Dahler still live at No. 7 Pat. PL? 

245: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapalhy 24 October 

Cheers, my dear Harriet, CheeUHHS ! ! ! In a few days it wd. have been a 
birfday present. 

And now proceeding in order. No, I did not mean Norman Macleod 
when I wrote J.G. meaning Joseph Gordon (purrrnounced I prezoom 
Garrrdun) Macleod (perrnounced Mclwd) whose The Ecliptic has just 
been pubd. in vol. by Faber and Faber of Lunnon. 

Secondly as you rashly ask for further hint. Did I or did I not suggest 
tempering Zukofsky with McKenzie? Zuk to provide the good sense and 
McKenzie the conviction of the value of the new group. I dunno what can 
be done now to make up for that bit of motive power. I may have said c or' 
instead of 'and/ 

Anyhow I shall urge Zuk to take the March or May in order to have 
time to get the most dynamite into it. 

As to N' Yok, you know that I have always played Chicago (or any 
western township against N.Y. whenever I cd. get standing room west of 
the Alleghenies. The trouble is that they won't stay west of the Alleg- 

henies. Margaret, Covici, Putnam, etc Morada is my last stab at this 

and before I can get an answer they are in Munich (having excema and 
asking my advice about health resorts . . . vivaHHH the he-man of the 
wilds ! !). I got a ten gallon hat last week and still got more hair on meh 
chest than any of 'em, me, the etiolated European ! ! 

By the way met a frien* of yours in Rrome. You might get her to 
release another ten bucks a month for the lily-souled Emanuel. Pleasant 
woman, Mc something. 

Waal, waal, my deah Harriet, I sho iz glad you let these young scrubs 
have the show to their selves, an ah does hope they dust out your office. 
My only fear is that Mr. Zukofsky will be just too Goddam prewdent. 



No, I haven't seen dear Margaret's outburst. When she and Jane got to 
sequestering my mss. on the ground that what I had writ wd. do me 'so 
much harm in America/ 1 sought younger companions. 

It ain't my idea of Pegasus, it's Mr. Gill's. Mebbe Pegasus looks like that 
in England. I'd rather have one from Kentucky even if he hadn't wings 
and wisp of spinach for a tail. I never did think much of Mr. Gill or of 
Henglish Hawt anyway. (Wyndham Lewis's dad was a West Pointer of 
Murkn nashunality, so he ain't under the Bris'h nachunul coise.) That 
Damn hoss wd. be perfectly at home on the Georgian anthology. How- 
ever, there he is, you gotter keep him for a year. He ain't 'et fer some time 
and he is powerful curious about that carrot (no room fer carrot on the 

If you'd read Pisanello's letter (vide Canto XXVI) and then look at 
some Pisanello medals or frescoes you wd. be able to work out my opinion 
of Mr. Gill on the subjekkof hosses. 

246: To William Carlos Williams 

Rapallo, 22 November 

Deer Willyum the Wumpus: How badly does Zuk want to git to Yourup? 
And how badly ought he? 

Until his last letter (in which the question is not mentioned) I had held 
the view that he ought to git some sort of root in N.Y. before wandering. 
And I have alius held that sometime somehow god damn etc. something 
ought to git started on the bloody spot (especially as ole Europe ain't 
what she wuz). 

However, if it merely means killing off yet another generation. . . . 

Secondly if m yr. judgment he ought to have a breathing spell, can we 
in any way manage it? Has he any resources (fiscal)? Question of whether 
it wd. weaken his fibre etc. to be helped, whether to add yet another to an 
unpaid perfession in which even the old stagers are havin hell's own 
helluva to pay for their beer and sandwiches . . . etc. . . . 

What sort of degradation is he willing to undergo? 

Etc. First question is whether you think it wd. be a good thing for him 
to be exported temporarily, or if he once gets his nose out whether he 
cd. ever stand repatriation ? ? ? ? ? ? Etc. etc. 

God damn it, who are the just men in yr. transpontine sodom enny- 



247: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, January 

Dear Harriet: Am forwarding yrs. to Yeats. 

Re yrs. in Eng. Journal: you have never answered a straight question re 
my Propertius: Did either you or Hale suppose that my reference to 
Wordsworth in my Homage was a mistranslation from the Latin? 

Hale was a god damn fool, I don't know whether that demands 'for- 
giveness' or not. At any rate I leave both vendetta and pardon to the 
forces of nature. I was not in the habit of answering criticisms of my own 
wort The irritation was caused by its being impossible to conduct an 
argument on the basis of Hale's being fool enough to have based his crit. 
on the whole poem as only a fragment of it had been printed. 

As to 'whole' numbers. If it was possible for Neihardt it was 'possible,' 
however antipathetic it may have been to you personally, to have extended 
the same amt. of space to 'other writers.' 

Hale's one 'discovery of error' reduces itself to the passage about the 
aqueduct which he got not from his own intelligence or from a knowledge 
of Latin but from using an annotated edtn. 

If you think the trade gains by putting poetic quality below pedantry or 
even below scholastic distinction, this is the one case in 18 years in which 
you have ever shown signs of that attitude. 

There is an unimportant error or vagueness in yr. remarks re my 
fatigue. Not weariness but indignation (beginning with the 2nd number) 
and overcome time after time, divorced me from Poetry. No elephant has 
my patience. 

The Lit. Rev. ejected me. BLAST ceased through no act of mine. The 
Dial was always hell, or nearly always, endured on the principle 'faim 
saillir le loup du bois.' 

Exile was undertaken to print what no other mag. wd. print. As soon as 
there were other mags in existence that cd. carry on I desisted. 

As for the joke about when various revs, were useful: All right. Make out 
another list of what those reviews and any other li'l reviews published 
when they were trying to prove me an imbecile. 



You've got the spectacle of the Georgians in Britain, Stork and heaven 
knows wottell ... in U.S.A. Cf. Little Review itself under Ficke's effulgent 

Re Zuk: gord knows wot he has done to yr. respected pubctn. At least 
it will be a different point of view. Let us hope a younger pt. v. than mine. 

You might also concede the constructive value of my kicking about 
mutilations. Proper tius and Mauberley were cut, but on the strength of my 
howling to high heaven that this was an outrage, Eliot's Waste Land was 
printed whole. In which action I also participated. Dragging my own 
corpse by the heels to arouse the blasted spectators. 

248: To the Editor of the English Journal 

Rapallo , 24 January 

Sir: It is fatiguing to argue about one's own work but Miss Monroe's per- 
sistent errors seem to demand a reply. 

1. Four sections of a poem written in 12 sections do not constitute the 
whole poem. 

2. My Homage to Sextus Proper tius is not a translation of Propertius. 

3. 1 am unable to imagine a depth of stupidity so great as to lead either 
Miss Monroe or the late Hale into believing that I supposed I had found an 
allusion to Wordsworth or a parody of Yeats in Propertius. 

4. 1 did not at the time reply to Hale because I could not assume that he 
had seen the entire poem. 

5. Hale's 'criticism' displayed not only ignorance of Latin but ignor- 
ance of English. 

6. If Miss Monroe is unable to discover proof of Hale's ignorance I will 
(if any interest be now supposed to inhere in the subject) on receipt of a 
copy of Hale's 'criticism' indicate his errors. Miss Monroe appears to pre- 
serve the superstition that a man is learned, or, me hercule, infallible because 
hfi is a professor. 

P.S. As Miss Monroe has never yet discovered what the aforementioned 
poem is, I may perhaps avoid charges of further mystification and wilful 
obscurity by saying that it presents certain emotions as vital to me in 1 917, 
faced with the infinite and ineffable imbecility of the British Empire, as 
they were to Propertius some centuries earlier, when faced with the infinite 
and ineffable imbecility of the Roman Empire. These emotions are defined 
largely, but not entirely, in Propertius* own terms. If the reader does not 
find relation to life defined in the poem, he may conclude that I have been 
unsuccessful in my endeavour. I certainly omitted no means of definition 


1931— aetat 45 

that I saw open to me, including shortenings, cross cuts, implications 
derivable from other writings of Propertius, as for example the 'Ride to 
Lanuvium' from which I have taken a colour or tone but no direct or 
entire expression. 

249: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 27 March 

Dear H.M.: Agree that transition was mainly slop, but the review was 

As to Feb. Poetry. . . . The point is that although most of the contents 
was average, the mode of presentation was good editing. The zoning of 
different states of mind, so that one can see what they are, is good editing. 

This gang is not the same mess as the Neihardt stuff you used to in- 
clude. Vide infra. 

Zuk's own poem is part of a whole poem and therefore loses 9/ioths of 
its intelligibility, cut off as a fragment. 

But there has been a development in American verse during 20 years; 
and the messy britons have not kept up with it. 

Have done a brief note on Feb. Poetry for Putnam's New Rev. 

An editor is not there to represent him- or herself save as a part of the 
period. Different facets shd. be presented with as much separation as pos- 
sible, so as to show what they are, not merely partly boiled legumes in the 
soup. Only a small part of any epoch or decade survives. Service of Feb. 
number perhaps not so much re what is to survive of present infants as in 
strong indication of what will not survive from former mediocrity and 
faintly-above-medioc. A pruning of the tree. 

There always is ' mighty little ' being done. 

If you want to insult yourself by taking transition as criterion of com- 
parison, do so: but I didn't. Neither do I see why a magazine shd. stop 
with the stoppage of its initial editor. 

I don't in the least mind opposition. I regard it as being there to be 
eliminated. I.e., resistance to develop the force of action. Very useful in lit. 
discussion as it gives opportunity to elucidate fully points left obscure 
(unconsciously) by the first expressor. 

But anybody being a friend of anybody has nothing to do with literary 
criticism. I hope to maintain at least that point, even if no sonzofbitches 
ever come to my funeral and if no stinking Judge Thayer 1 of Massachusetts 
ever places wreaths on my unknown tomb. 

1 Presiding judge during the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti. 


Re Bunting: there aren't a whole plateful of Eng. extremists. B's in 
correspondence with J. G. Macleod. I personally do not share the Auden 
craze, it isn't as much as a craze anyhow; it is merely that Auden is so large 
a part of what little they've got. Mutatis mutandis, another J. E. Flecker, I 
mean about that general mule-power. 

Re yr. last page. If you had ever told me you repented of Neihardt I wd. 
have looked up some other more recent instance (even though by such 
doing I might have obscured my general idea). 

My idea of Brit, number was that it shd. give 'em the best show pos- 
sible, but that it was bound to be American chauvinism, because the best 
Brit, show wd. be very much inferior to Zuk's number. 

Good editing, as I see it, means the most effective presentation of the 
best of whatever is on hand. 

An English number ought to show Eng. different from America, but no 
longer, as in 1892, better in re the art of poesy. 

Obviously in the last analysis the grade of any period depends on one, 
two or a few of the best writers. The Greek anthology is not a contradic- 
tion; it does not represent the mediocrity of one decade but the florilegium 
of a long series of decades. 

It is time there was another such report on France as I made in 19 18 in 
Little Rev. 

In 191 1 France led. I doubt if she does today. But that question does not 
take ref. to two hundred writers. It is a question of the state of awareness 
of Ford, Joyce, Eliot, Bill Wms., E.P. to Gide, Claudel, smut nut etc. 
Cocteau, Aragon, Peret. 

Italy gets into internat. locale by reason of Tozzi (prose). 

Re opposition: if one aims at 100%, the opposition is there either to 
affect one, i.e. 9 rectify one's direction or to be rectified by one's direction. 
Difficulty generally is to get any opposition that will define a position at 
all: or stick to a point of discussion until, between the disputants, one gets 
the right answer (in cases where there is one). 

Re Poetry stopping: Having performed the great feat of manipulating 
the god damned borzoi into spending a little money on the best poetry at 
yr. disposal (given yr. lights) it wd. be a crime to plug the hole. You ought 
to leave as durable and continuing a monument as possible to the fact that 
you extracted from among the porkpackers a few less constipated and 
made them pay money for the upkeep of poesy. The five just men in 
Sodom were as nothing by comparison. I forget; I dare say they weren't to 
be found, and the angels' morals had to be kept in the family. 

I don't care how they are made to do it. If love availeth not, tell 'em all 
the young writers will go communist the moment they stop. That not so 


1931— aetat 45 

far out, anyhow. Bourgeois Htcherchoor is pretty well on the blink. Am a 
democrat myself. . . but one must observe the general current of things. 

When it comes to the yearn after vanishing kulchuh I suspect that Mr. 
McAlmon's feelings toward Mr. Farrell (who writes of American low life) 
are almost as H. J.'s might have been toward Mr. McA. — / — / 

P.S. Yet again: say the Feb. number doesn't 'record a triumph' for that 
group. Get some other damn group and see what it can do. What about 
the neo-Elinor-Wylites? Have they got any further than the neo-Vance- 
Cheneyites of 1 904 ? 

Zone the barstuds. 

Or the neo-hogbutchererbigdriftites? They all gone Rootabaga? 

Tyler prob. has something. C. H. Ford prob. not. 

You may have kept at it more persistently than Exile: but what about 
Exile's editor? What earthly dif. does it make whether Exile appears 
separately or in the pages of some other review. The next time there is no 
Lit. Rev., Dial, BLAST, H{ound) and H{orn), Symposium or other re- 
view to print something I think needs printing you may have the sweet 
torture of seeing a No. 5. 

Anyhow the damn porkpackers ought to pay my rent. Expect me to be 
the leading Xponent, patron of arts, committee of information. Wotter- 
hell !!!!!! Tell your damn guarantors I consider 'em as holy lights amid a 
great flock of cattle (millionaire illiterates, dumb and speechless tribes of 
unconscious pawnbrokers). 

The hayseed walked across the road at night 

He said to his old woman, Now say, I say 

Maggie, don't yew think it's about time I started hoeing? 

What about the ole bucolic school? Have they got any agricultural 

Here, I'm exceeding myself. 

P.P.S. fenny rate, whooz down-hearted? 

250: To Lincoln Kirstein 

Rapallo, (?May) 
DearL.K.:— /— / 

Costa piii della Divina Commedia 
1. In reply to your earlier letter. Your statement about live types etc. 
amounts to saying that there is good low life in America. There is good 



low life anywhere. The lower it is the less it is national and the less it 
reflects any credit or interest on the particular place in which it exists. 

I can only repeat my malediction: God eternally damblast a country 
that spends billions interfering with peoples' diet and that can not support 
a single printing press which will print stuff that people like me want to 
read, Le., regardless of immediate fiscal profit. 

The endowments are sabotaged. Even when some vague and good- 
natured millionaire 'founds' something with allegedly cultural or creative 
intent, the endowment is handed over to academic eminences who are as 
incapable of picking a first class painter or writer as I shd. be of making a 
sound report on a copper mine. The one thing they are sure to hate is the 
germ of original capacity. They will go on backing the Howells, the 
Tarkingtons and the W. Churchills to the end of their ignominious 

My heading was found in the local pharmacy. I asked for a certain brand 
of excellent American toilet paper and the pharmacien replied with this 
epitaph on Anglo-Saxon civilization: '£ essagerata. Costa piu della 
Divina Commedia. 9 Yes, he wd. sell it to me, but really it cost too much. 
It cost more than the Divina Commedia. 

Our race still maintains this proportion in estimate. It is the reversal of 
the old epigram about hyacinths. 

2. Re style in America: Yes. And it is worth irritating people and stick- 
ing to that somewhat Toryish (tho' not fundamentally Tory) position 
however unpopular. 

But it is dangerous internally and ex — . Danger of Concord school 
omitting to notice Whitman. Historically, people in rough environment, 
if they have any sensibility or perception, want 'culture an' refinement.' 
Whitman embodying nearly everything one disliked, etc. Failure to see the 
wood for the trees. 

Secondly or thirdly: Danger of confusing your (for example) lyric im- 
pulse and yr. editorial function. As lyricist you can want (and shd. want) 
whatever you damn please. Editorial function something very different. 
In that function one has to (at least) observe, admit the capacities of people 
who like what one does not like. 

Life wd. have been (in my case) much less interesting if I had waited till 
Joyce, Lewis, Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, etc. complied with what my taste 
was in 1908. 

O hell, how shall I put it. My son, elucidate thine own bloody damn 
point of view by its contrast to others, not by trying to make the others 

AH right. You want a style out of America. Stick at it. But when it 

1931— aetat 45 

comes it mayn't be where you are lookin' fer it. As editor all you can do is 
to get the best of what is done 

A. from those you more or less agree with 

B. from those you don't 

and in latter case you can editorially profess to be conscious of an energy, 
which you believe to be wrongly directed. 

251: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 6 October 

Dear Harriet: Not being given to gloom or to worrying about calamity I 
had not given much thought to Poetry a mag for 195 1. 1 forget how old 
you think you are, but you are good for another ten or fifteen years any- 
how. However, if you insist on making a will, the coincidence etc. incites 
me to the obvious idea that the only person in Amurikuh who cd. continue 
your periodical is Marianne. The necessary irreproachable respectability, 
the that against which no lousy ploot can object on the grounds of her not 
bein' a lady or bein' likely to pervert the growing school child, etc. 

It shd. also be possible to get a certain amount of backing for Marianne 
that wd. not be available for the wild and boisterous or cerebral younger 

Taking yr. editorial as basis, the essential in a continuator wd. be, now 
or any time, in the next two decades, someone who could command a cer- 
tain amount of financial support. And someone not merely brought up by 
you in yr. office. Question of changing name of magazine seems to me 
immaterial. Seems to me a continuation of Poetry wd. be the best mem- 
orial you cd. wish if it can be arranged that it shd. be a creditable con- 
tinuation. You can at any rate finish the quarter century and then retire if 
you like. I don't see exactly why you shd. retire, but still if you are making 
wills, one may as well discuss will-making. 

I will not mention the contents of this note until I hear from you. I am 
perfectly willing to undertake solicitation if the idea strikes you favour- 
ably. It wd. be better I think for you to consult your firmest guarantors 
or even all the guarantors. It wd. then be time to find out if Marianne wd. 
entertain the proposition and 3dly, to see what extra support cd. be gained 
for her to replace those of your circle who wd. naturally cease to support 
Poetry under any change of management. 

Let us take it you must have a Christianity-addict: I cejie on that point. 



Marianne has experience — quality dear to the cautious ploot. Kulchuh 
— more than enough. Conservatism but not absolute plantedness. At any 
rate I see no other successor who wd. do you honour and who is a prac- 
tical proposition. 

In reply to yr. last: I am not interested in roach-powder but if the jani- 
tors and swabbers can't keep the place clean, I take it somebody has got to 
provide insecticide or even squash the individual cockroach. In the general 
cause of health. ' Modern cities are impossible without preventive medicine 
and modern sanitation.' 

At present I shd. say (to return to constructivity) that Marianne's talents 
(discretion, etc.) were not being used by her god damned country. 

I don't know how much she makes at whatever she is doing; someday 
or other she will presumably need less and have less weight to carry . . . 
etc. . . . 

I dunno 'bout the Chicago pt. of view. Nothing but a definite position 
wd, I suppose take M.M. to Chicago or move her from one side of 4th 
Ave. to the other. But Chicago might be inspirationated to bring one of 
the best contemporary Amurkun minds into Chicago. After all Marianne 
wuz born in St. Louis, and can be claimed by the West in general. 

The decision seems to rest more with you personally than with die 
outer circumjacence. 

Anyhow, lemme know if it's worth a try. 

P.S. Nacherly I can't tell anything about your local factional fights. 
Utterly unable to see that your advisory committee have ever contributed 
either brains, knowledge or energy. 

M.M. ideal presiding officer; if you think there is a local faction that 
wants or insists on a representative of vagueness and slush and glad-hand- 
ing, I suppose vice-presidencies were invented for conciliating such. . . . 

252: To H. B. Lathrop 

Rapallo >, 16 December 

Dear Professor Lathrop: I have just written to Hatfield re a matter that 
might have been dealt with more directly. 

I strongly suspect that a few hundred, perhaps a few dozen swine in 
editorial offices do more harm to contemporary letters in America than all 
the pubk bad taste and ignorance put together. 

An antidote. A Who's Who of editors stating the four cardinal points. 


1931— aetat 46 

1. Whom did they (do they) print? 

2. Whom did they print before anyone else, or before the author had a 


3. Whom did they refuse? 

4. Whom did they fail to invite (in a suitable manner, for and in regard 

to resources at their disposal) ? 

Book shd. be compiled by impartial patient students, having no per- 
sonal ax to grind in any particular case. It would be of gt. national service, 
as well as being thesis for Ph.D. or several theses. 

Our young friend Z nicely fixed as edtr. for new publishing house. 
Question of cheap book of first quality seems much nearer solution. 
Crosby, TO (Oppen), Rexroth all promising to deal with it, and the first 
two have work in press. Carlos Williams, Hemingway (unpopular item) 
and my collected prose among things being handled by the three producers. 

My Cavalcanti nearly ready. I don't know whether you can put me 
through to yr. Romance dept. or in fact any part of Univ. dealing with 
polyglot letters. The edtn. ought to serve as start for a new method of 
handling international texts. I want names both of men who can do the 
work, and of 'powers' capable of assisting. Having (that is to say all but 
4 pages) got through with the Cavalcanti in spite of all the devils in Eng. 
or Am., I am in stronger position than when merely having something of 
my own that 'wanted doing.' 

253: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 27 December 

Dear Harriet: The intelligence of the nation more important than the 
comfort or life of any one individual or the bodily life of a whole genera- 

It is difficult enough to give the god damn amoeba a nervous system. 

Having done your bit to provide a scrap of rudimentary ganglia amid 
the wholly bestial suet and pig fat, you can stop; but I as a responsible 
intellect do not propose (and have no right) to allow that bit of nerve 
tissue (or battery wire) to be wrecked merely because you have a sister in 
Cheefoo or because there are a few of your friends whom it would be 
pleasanter to feed or spare than to shoot. 

//"that indescribably vile town Chicago don't treat you right, I shall also 
ave something to say about that. t 


Of course there are several things I have been tryin to teach you for the 
past 20 years. I don't lay as much stock by teachin the elder generation as 
by teachin' the risin', and if one gang dies without learnin' there is always 
the next. Keep on remindin 'em that we ain't bolcheviks, but only the terri- 
fyin' voice of civilization, kulchuh, refinement, aesthetic perception. 

If you want to mark the end of anything, all right. The continuation can 
be called Poetry, Second Series, or new series, if that hackneyed term is 
still heap big mumbo on the lake shore (New Buildings, Blunt's, built in 
1467 etc.). 

Secondly, entirely apart from the above, can you tell me which, if any, 
of the guarantors is not violently hostile to me personally? 

Note that from your 20 years' correspondence to me one wd. have 
gathered that the guarantors are mostly a set of swinish savages, with a few 
rare wooden-headed pedants among them, all hating me like the devil and 
rigidly hostile to any and every development in art and letters. If this 
impression is incorrect, it shd. be easy for you to correct it? 

What can you tell me of Breasted? 

Now, lie right down and git a bit of rest. I am not going to essplode any 
dynamite till I get an answer. 

It is up to you to provide me with a committee that can at least look as if 
it wuz galvanized. 

With Possum Eliot apptd. to Hawvud, he won't bring the glad poly-* 
anna yawp, but the ignorance of the Stork-Auslander-Mabie-Canby 
period can't continue. 

You jess set down on the sofa. The dentist isn't goin to hurt. 

You send me a list of the ten best people. I promise not to call Chicago a 
pig-stye or hog-butchery, or say anything narsty. 

I spose Alice is still vigorously tubercular. A doc last night wuz tellin of 
a tub. family, all the sons died of tubercules at from 70 to 74, whereas the 
ole tubercular father died of it at 97. Still I spose she wd. have to give Chi. 
absent treatment. 

Why ain't the list of guarantors published more often? The bastuds 
sometimes like pubcty. 

In the meantime, let Zab use his ingenuity livenin up the maggerzeen. 
Experiment to see which way it can [lacuna] not and should not include 
the least taint of pity for your errors and limitations. The latter can be 
pardoned toyou, but not tolerated in themselves, or for themselves. 

Not only shd. the nation have an intelligence but it shd. have a bloody 
sight better intelligence than it now shows any protuberant signs of. It 

shd. be so intelligent that things like C and S wd. die pumb 

bang of the shock. Health kills no end of bacillae. 


193 1 — aetat 46 

You are good for at least another ten years. Pass on yr. local job, and 
come abroad an git edderkated. 

Your past correspondence wd. lead me to believe that Zabel is the only 
thing you have ever had in the office that wuz worth a damn or able to putt 
on a postage stamp. And that Zab is not the pussonality required to get 
cash out of the pig-packers. All right . . . got to work with what there is. 

Marianne has got the brains to edit (all sewed up in a bag). 

What about Genevieve Tagrt as a magnifique facade for the [lacuna] 

A factory is a better muniment than a crematorium. Cemeteries interest 
me very little. 

Chicago has had the energy to run Poetry for 20 years with you jabbin* 
the blighters in the small of the back. Quinn reported that it was the only 
thing going on in Chi. (That was an error; or rather, years after, they got 
an oriental institoot.) 

I suggest that you take 5 months in Cheefoo and one month in Rapallo. 
I dare say my ancestors cd. give you a bed and breakfast; and you cd. 
catch yr. lunch in the gulph. They got a octopus rather biggern you are 
only 2 days ago. 

I also suggest that you find someone (polite if necessary) to take on the 
sweaty work. I don't care whether Chi. pays its guarantee to Poetry via 
politeness or at the point of a gun. You got it by bein* more civilized than 
the hog-packers. Savage tribute to the beau monde. 

What ought to be iz that Marianne or someone ought to take on the 
work, an you ought to git either a pension or you ought to git a small 
salary and write your little piece about 'ope, charity, and the Xmas sperrit 
when you so feel inclined. 



254: To John Drummond 

Rapallo y 18 February 

Dear Mr. Drummond: It might almost be worth while to correct (pub- 
licly) the error of yr. opening sentence. It is not expensive editions that 
discourage circulation. The sacks of pus which got control of Brit, 
pubctn. in or about 1912 or '14 and increased strangle hold on it till at 
least 1932 have done their utmost to keep anything worth reading out of 
print and out of ordinary distribution via commerce (booksellers). 

You have only to note that the best work of Joyce, Eliot, Wyndham 
Lewis (not Beachcomber) have only got into print via specially started 
publishing ventures, outside the control of the Fleet St. ring. 

There is no reason why young England shd. pardon the ineffable pol- 
luters and saboteurs. What they have done to stifle literature in Eng., tho 
not so important as the press-bosses' stifling of economic discussion, is all 
of piece. 

The hell cantos are specifically London, the state of English mind in 
1919 and 1920. 

Dear J.D.: The foregoing sheet you can cite publicly; the rest of this is 

1. Don't knock Mussolini, at least not until you have weighed up the 
obstacles and necessities of the time. He will end with Sigismondo and the 
men of order, not with the pus-sacks and destroyers. I believe that any- 
thing human will and understanding of contemporary Italy cd. accom- 
plish, he has done and will continue to do. Details later. Don't be blinded 
by theorists and a lying press. 

Faber is bringing out my ABC of Economics in a few weeks. 

Metevsky is definitely ZaharofF, so far as the facts could be ascertained 
at the time — none of them essentially contradicted since. Tho of course he 
stands for a type and a state of mind; and an error in detail wdn't invalidate 

There is satire in the Iliad md the Odyssey. I cannot believe that satire is 
in itself alien to epos. Nor do I think you meant to imply that it was. 

There are only three main planes. The Provence merely a part of per- 


1932— aetat 46 

spective. Vide any painting with distance in background, as distinct from 
stage scenery on different layers of cardboard or hangings. 

Best div. prob. the permanent, the recurrent, the casual. 

I wonder how far the Mauberley is merely a translation of the Homage 
to S.P. 9 for such as couldn't understand the latter? 

An endeavour to communicate with a blockheaded epoch. 

Every effort toward independent pubctn. is worth while. When 
you have been through more, you will understand my ferocity against 

little , each unimportant in himself but ultimately being 

sources of typhoid. A little dung in the well, no importance . . . but un- 
diseased water a public need. You young, and more especially the chaps 
who were young ten years ago, don't yet realize how much little pimps 
and edtrs. have done yew wrrrrong. No use weepin over the past. But kill 

Smith and Son; kill Richmond of Times Sup. and all the rest, 

Observer, etc. 

Note that the Fleet St. press is not yet open and that for 20 or 30 years 
four old bigots of Smith and Son have practically controlled the distribu- 
tion of printed matter in Eng. 

I recommend New Eng. Weekly for economic discussoin (overlook 
most of its lit. opinion). Also C.H.D. remarks on education near beg. of 
Warning Democracy very useful even outside econ. 

Enough for one morning. 

You might in considering England, consider what writers have been 
expelled through impossibility of getting 30/ bob a week from the brit. 
publishing system. And the men who have upheld, caused, etc., that state 
of things. Whether you are ' technically a gent.' or whether any of the 
Makers are contemplating a vie des lettres, profession of writing etc. 

255: To John Drummond 

Rapallo, 18 February 

Dear Mr. Drummond: I continue. 1. 1 don't remember whether you were 
referring to XXX zs if it were the whole poem because we agreed that that 
wd. be the better 'policy.' I take it you know that it is only the first large 
segment of 'about 100.' 

Your selections very good. Also 'everything relating to everything 

What is Leavis? He recently sent me his 'Primer.' 

x 3 21 


P. 45, personal love poetry neither in Cantos nor in any Epos . . . even 
(say) Beatrice in the Commedia. 

Only a fragment of Zuk's article was pubd in Criterion. Complete 
French version in Echanges and Italian in Indice. 

2. Other pt.: A critical manifesto is being planned in America. I don't 
know why die kilted Scots and effete Britons shd. wait for Hollywood and 
the PEE-raries. 

'Not so much crit. as creat.' on yr. title page. 

I dunno how you feel about Eliot's evil influence. Not that his crit. is 
bad but that he hasn't seen where it leads. What it leads to. Attention on 
lesser rather than greater. At a time when there is imperative need of a 
basis, i.e., what ole Unc. Wm. Yeats called 'new sacred book of the arts.* 
Something, or some place where men of good will can meet without 
worrying about creed and colour eta 

At any rate, that is what is behind the proposed manifesto, which has 
not been sent to editors (like W. C. Williams, Eliot himself, or other who 
have regular pulpit . . . not that some of 'em mightn't have signed). At any 
rate, the signers to date are: Zukofsky, Bunting, Marianne Moore, E.P. 
I forget who else has been invited. One can assume a few more. However, 
even the locus in which it will appear is still a bit uncertain. 

I am sending you the gist of it. If you people want to manifest along the 
same lines, don't wait for the Am. pubctn. Might be more effective coming 
from a new group. You wd. say that news has reached you of an analogous 
manifesto being prepared in the U.S.A. 

Seems to me ' Co (n temporaries) and Makers' as good a place as any for 
the move to come from. Heaven knows we have been waiting for over ten 
years for a sign of life in Britain. 

Substance of manifesto: 

i. The critic most worth respect is the one who actually causes an im- 
provement in the art he criticises. 

2. The best critic of next rank is the one who most focuses attention on 
the best work. 

3. The pestilence masking itself as a critic distracts attention from the 
best work, either to secondary work that is more or less 'good* or to 
tosh, to detrimental work, dead or living snobisms, or to indefinite 
essays on criticism. 


1932— aetat 47 
ij6: To Langston Hughes 

Rapallo, iZjune 

Dear Hughes: Thanks very much for 'Scotsboro Limited.' As for the case 
itself, I don't know that my name has been used on any protest, and I don't 
know that my name or anyone's name can be of any use. I believe the 
American govt, as intended and as a system is as good a form of govt, as 
any, save possibly that outlined in the new Spanish constitution, but no 
govt, can go on forever if it allows the worst men in it to govern and if it 
lends itself repeatedly to flagrant injustice. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the extreme Southern states are 
governed by the worst there is in them. 

I can't see how the 'left' can make anything save confusion until it can 
think more clearly about economics, though it is no more ignorant of them 
than any other group or party. 

All of which you are welcome to quote if you think it will do any good. 
I am not hiding my opinion. 

257: To John Drummond 


Rapallo, 3 December 

As the beastlier segment of yr. nation which concerns itself with printing 
books, does about its best to keep mine out of the country, it seems to me 
that you (presumably as Saul of Tarsus) might be advised not to quote 
more than 2 Cantos gross, I mean not more than say 150 or 200 lines 
altogether; and that you might give a better idea of the poem by shorter 
and scattered quotations. Most Cantos have in them 'binding matter,' i.e., 
lines holding them into the whole poem and these passages don't much 
help the reader of an isolated fragment. . . . More likely to confuse than 
help. . . . 



258: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo y 9 December 

My Dear Ole Harriet: Ignorance is the bane of Chicago and the whole 
blasted continent. 

'Carnal' and 'uterine' as used in my letter are simple legal terms, 
technical legal terms, that you wd. find in the most proper English as late 
as Jefferson's time — meaning relations on mama's side and relations on 
papa's side of the family. And if America hadn't just discovered sodomy, 
thanks to high-brow papers and Vanity Fair, you wdn't have suspected 
Fred. II, who was certainly not given that way. Pier della Vigna was 
secretary of the Sicilian Treasury (or equivalent). Like most of Mr. Hard- 
ing's cabinet he cheated and stole the public funds, difference being that he 
was executed instead of receiving national honours. 

At any rate, fer God's sake let Zabel see the original text of my letter 

and send an unexpurgated copy to T 1 don't think even it will make 

the obtuse middle-aged young man think . . . but no use shielding him from 
the chance since I have taken the trouble to write it. 

Send him this paragraph also, s.v.p. 



259: To William Bird 

Rapallo y 1 5 January 

Deer Willyum: When t'ell 'ave I ever putt on the 'high* or triple tiYiara 
inaddressin' you?? 

I am deeply interested in yr. biYography which as uzul does you credit. 

I observe that you are a follerer ov Alex Hamilton, whereas TJ. is my 
cherished forebear. 

Have you had Douglas* last pamphlek, which contains one misprint: a 
plus fer a x or somethin' ? ? 

The Vols. Cantos unforchoonately are not sold, but I will remit if you 
like, or will cheerfully spot up the binder's fee, and remit when the sale 
(if) occurs. If you are under slight shortage, I will cheerfully remit at once. 

Yaas, I remember baptism' Mont. Is he in jail or out at the moment? 

Agreein' fer sake of argyfaxshun that state is protector of privilege, 
whose b-y privilege?? Why not spread it out a bit so'z to include some- 
body not on the inside credit Federal Reserve gang graft?? Vide C.H.D. 
on the kulschurl heritage ! Sfar as I see, the technocrats either don't know, 
or they are dodgin' the econ. issue (tactfully riz by W.B. in his remarks on 
the Injun Ocean). 

Great pity you don't take to licherchoor. The merit of yr. privik corres- 
pondence in spots 1 1 

As fer yr. final pp., that is about the kind of mess that has been tres- 
passin on my phantastikon for several weeks. Just a bloody or merely dis- 
orderly disorder with no sense, no thought, no ideas, no program, no 
sense of organization anywhere in the bloody lotuvum. Do you expect 
Col. Louse to dictate before or after the collapse? 

Is Mont or anybody on the spot considerin' any noo mushroom to rize 
from the ashes? 

Any objection to my quotin yr. epistle (without sayin who wrote it, or 
over yr. siggychoor, if you prefer)? If I get round to doin a narticle on the 
woild at large. 

Re Comite des Forges: What is yr. op. re the followin inf. reed: Seul 
le Petit Parisien, Pet. Journal Journal, L'QEuvre, et les journaux d'extr&ne 



gauche, Populaire, Humaniti, sont libres de tout controle financier de la 
part de la Comit£ des Forges. lis peuvent avoir des contrats avec des 
journaux commandite par la comity du pt. de vue d'affaires (publicity) 
mais ceci n'entrave pas leur liberty. — / — / 

260: To William Rose Ben£t 

[William Rose Benit had planned an anthology in which the poets were to 
choose their own poems and comment on them. Pound had refused to join in, 
and Benit, thinking that he considered the fee insufficient, cabled that he would 
himself meet any difference in fee, that William C. Williams and Wallace 
Stevens had already sent material, and that he hoped Pound would reconsider^ 

Rapallo, 23 January 

Dear Mr. Ben£t: I appreciate your kindness in cabling but I am afraid I 
shall have to be even more explicit in my answer. 

I think you have done too much harm, as asst. edtr. of the Sat. Rev. 
Lit., from year to year pouring poison into or onto the enfeebled or 
adolescent Amurkn mind; or at any rate doing yr. and Canby's damndest 
to preserve mildew and betray critical standards. 

That may be Greek to you. I have no proof that you or C. ever make 
the faintest effort to understand anything whatever outside yr. own set of 
fixed ideas and conveniences. Yr. weekly never opens up to what I con- 
sider decent opinion or sound criticism. You accept the worst infamies of 
American imbecility and superstitions without a murmur, or without any 
persistent effort to clean up the mess. 

Yr. proposed anth. is merely another effort (however delicate) to shove 
over more god damn'd sob stuff, personal touch, anything, absolutely any- 
thing, to shield yr. booblik from fact, what is printed on page. 

'Circumstances under which it was written' are no excuse. Author's 
sentiments re poem after it is written, etc. Browning explained the matter 
in words of one syllable or at least in very simple language. 

At any rate I think I shd. forego the 25 dollars for the sake of critical 

Do you understand this letter? 

The foetor of the Sat. Rev's critical effort to uphold the almost-good 
and the not-quite-dead and the fear of facing the demands made in my 

How the deuce to you expect me to swallow all that for the sake of a 
small sum of money ? 


J 933 — aetat 47 

261: To E. E. Cummings 

Rapalby 6 April 

Dear Cummings: Somewhere or other there is a l'er ov mine saying I want 
to include yr. trans, of Aragon's Red Front in a nanthology Faber is bring- 
ing out in London, Share out and small propoitional advance to contri- 
butors: Bill Wms., Marianne, etc. 

1. Because I want it. (Also want a few poems of yrs. not already known 
in England, preferably poems that have not been included in published 
vols. (mag. printing don't matter), or in my Profile (if I repeat from 
Profile it will look as if there lacked abundance of prudukk). 

2. Because I think it may be the only way to get the Red Front printed in 
Eng. (tho' that may be error) or at any rate as good a way as any immedi- 
ately available. 

3. 1 want to ram a cert, amount of material into that sodden mass of half- 
stewed oatmeal that passes for the Brit. mind. Or at any rate. . . . 

Thank either you or Covici for Eimu 

I dunno whether I rank as them wot finds it painful to read; and if I said 
anything about obscurity, it wd. fare ridere polli — in view of my recent 
pubctns. Also I don't think Eimi is obscure, or not very; but, the longer a 
work is, the more and longer shd. be the passages that are perfectly clear 
and simple to read. Matter of scale, matter of how long you can cause the 
reader to stay immobile or nearly so on a given number of pages. (Obvi- 
ously not to the Edgar Wallace virtue (?) of the opposite hurry scurry.) 

Also, despite the wreaths upon the Jacobean brow, 1 a page two or 
three, or two and one half centimetres narrower (at least a column of type 
that much narrower) might solve all the difficulties. That has, I think, been 
tested optically, etc. The normal or average eye sees a certain width with- 
out heaving from side to side. May be hygienic for it to exercise its wobble, 
but I dunno that the orfer shd. sacrifice himself on that altar. 

At any rate, I can see 

'he adds, unhatting and becombing his raven mane,' 

but I don't see the rest of the line until I look specially at it. Multiply that 40 
times per page for 400 pages. . . . 

Mebbe there is wide-angle eyes. But chew gotter count on a cert. no. ov 
yr. readers bein at least as dumb as I am. Even in Bitch and Bugle I found 

1 The reference is to S. A. Jacobs who supervised the production oiEimu 



it difficult to read the stuff consecutively. Which probab. annoys me a lot 
more than it will you. 

At any rate, damn glad to have the book and shall presumably continue 
taken er chaw now here n naow there. 

I suppose you've got a Brit. pubr. for it? Or possibly Cov. has a 
Lunnon orfice by naow? 

Otherwise . . . yr. opinyum re advisability of putting a few into anth. as 
horse d'overs or whetters. As fer xmpl. p. 338. 

Oh well Whell hell itza great woik. Me complimenks. 

P.S. Please try to reply suddenly re anthol. as Faber is weepin' fer the 
copy and I want to finish the fatigue before I go up to Parigi (address 
Chase Bank there after May 5 th), but please answer this note to this 
Rapallo address. 

262: To Agnes Bedford 

Rapallo, April 

1 do not want 'Tos Temps' sung in a translation. The hole 

point of my moozik bein that the moozik fits the words and not some 


The meaning is just the usual. Point of Sordello being that he can get 
life into what any other troub wd. have made a flat cliche. . . . 

It is first strophe, purely conventional meaning. And not to be sung 


The toodle oot of the dicky bird, but perfectly lyric, and the ultimate 
mastery of his medium. 

263: To John Drummond 

Rapallo, 4 May 

Dear Drummond: 1. 1 have writ the N.E.W. to correct one minor mis- 
apprehension on yr. part re structure of XXX. 

2. Yesterday I got note from Pollinger saying he cdn't place Mercanti di 
Cannonij and I sent up a curse to Orage which I hope he will print. 

3. 1 am using yr. selections from XXX in my Faber anthology, as they 
wanted me to include something of my own. 


J 933 — aetat 47 

This note starts from paragraph 2. It is not an isolated instance. When 
bloody ever a book appears on the continent that is of any interest it is 
apparently impossible to get a translation pubd. in Eng. 

Frobenius, Cocteau's Mystere Laic, the MercantL Apparently no differ- 
ence what the subject or the kind of book, suffice it that the book is fit to 
read or at any rate the kind of book that I buy and lend to my friends for 
the sake of improvin' their conversation or damagin their bloody iggor- 
unce. . . . And the inevitable answer is that brit. publishiter can't make 
money on it. Thinks he can't. After a decade's delay Faber apparently is 
trying to get my own stuff into print. . . . 

Damnd if I see anything for it but a new heave by the young, your 
elders are no more use than a barrel of wind. 

It is apparently impossible to get reprints of antient works. Let that 
pass, the contemporary work stands in greater need of being printed if 
you expect to live your next twenty years in bearable country. 

Heaven knows The Egoist wasn't a model publishing house, but it did 
at least print The Portrait of the Artist, Prufrock, Tarr, and Quia Pauper 
Amavi and wd. have pub. Ulysses but all the printers refused. 

The Mystere Laic was printed in Pagany (N. York), but ought to be 
issued sep. and in England. 

You may see my remarks re MercantL Orage will have told you of 
Cockburn's The Week, sort of private news service, to supply defects, lack 
of honesty in daily press. Same need for books pubd. on continent. The 
publishing trade won't do it for you. What 'group', body, corpse or 
whichever you can evangelize, I dunno. But it must be time for a new 
heave of some sort. 

P.S. If you people at Cam. can do anything in the way of a nucleus, I'll 
do what I can to bring in the scattered and incongruous units of my 

I don't know whether there is any use trying to combine international 
elements; Von Unruh and Haas, here; Williams, Zukofsky, Serly in N.Y. 
— bodi trying to start printing, but they wdn't have an eye to specifically 
British needs. . . . 

I dare say you know all the inhabitants of yr. island who might be 

Apart from Orage and N.E. W.\ Stokes, Cockburn, Rodker, Wyndham 
Lewis (possibly ... oh yes, mebbe), Eliot (passively), several members of 
the fair sex, D. R. Young, town counCilOr of Kinross, the somewhat 
savage and wholly impecunious Bridson raging in the back streets of 
Manchuster. Even Flint who ought to be made to be useful. Some younger 
man might smoke him up. He seems now draped in grief over ole 'Arold's 


Rapallo ^ 

tombstone. Never at best distinguished for energy and initiative. Ernest 
Rhys has no objection to there being a bit of life in letters, though he is 
utterly impotent when it comes to arousing Messieurs Dent. Still, just as 
well to know what centennarians will refrain from sabotaging an effort on 
principle. — / — / 

264: To Harriet Monroe 

Rapallo, 14 September 

Dear Arriet: I know you hate like hell to print me, and that an epic includes 
history and history ain't all slush and babies' pink toes. I admit that eco- 
nomics are in themselves uninteresting, but heroism is poetic, I mean it is 
fit subject for poesy. 

Also re my Christmas carol: damn it all, the only thing between food 
and the starving, between abolition of slums and decent life is a thin barrier 
of utterly damned stupidity re the printing of metal discs or paper strips. 
30 years ago people didn't know. It is as complex and as simple as Marconi's 
control of electricity. 

Anyhow Van Buren was a national hero, and the young ought to know 
it. Also this canto continues after the Adams. Printed separate, it will be 
clearer than if I pubd. 35 and 36 next. 

Consider that Van's autobiography lay unprinted from i860 or so down 
to 1920, probably because people who knew of it were too god damn 
stupid to understand it. 

Anyhow the crush of crisis, and Frankie getting into a jam, now that he 
has seen and admitted half the truth in his Looking Forward, can't keep 
the Van B. out of print any longer. Whoever can think, ought to be made 
to do it now. (Damn my reppertashun fer writin pretty sentimengs.) As 
there are a few clean and decent pages in the nashunul history, better print 
'em. And Van B. was one of 'em. — / — / 

265: To T. C.Wilson 

Rapallo, 24 September 

Dear Wilson: On ye compleat aht of ye schoolmaister. 

Yr. letter to surface. Teaching damn sight easier way of earning living 
than hackwriting. No need to 'stagnate/ 1 didn't during the 4 months they 


J 933 — aetat 48 

stood me. I don't say Crawfordsville didn't cram on hours or misery, but 
nowt unbearable. You aren't a hundred years old. Plenty of time for you 
to tank up and fit yourself for Europe, Asia or Africa or whereverwhither. 

Secret of teaching is a bit theatrical. Simply act the best prof you have 
known. The irritation of fools won't come from stewddents but from the 

Anybody who can penetrate the text-book ring wd. confer a blessing. 
Small manifest on that subject somewhere. Gaston Paris wrote text-books, 
and France had some sort of culture and amenity. Also the most paying 
line, after religion. One text-book cd. keep you in Europe for life. Am 
inclined to offer you 25 % of whatever I might get out of a text-book if 
you succeeded in inserting me into the text-book racket. I don't say it wd. 
be easy, but keep it in mind. . . . 

Tenny rate, stagnation comes from inside; and not from circumst. 
Clearer idea you have of what you want, greater prob. of getting. But 
never waste time filling in details. That bitches it. — / — / 

266: To Mary Barnard 

Rapdllo, 29 October 

Age? Intentions? Intention? How much intention? I mean how hard and 
for how long are you willing to work at it? 

Rudiments of writing: vide my pubd. crit. Rudiments music??? My 
unpubd. and mostly unwritten crit. 

Contents ? ? ' Lethe ' the best because there is more in it. 

What magazines do you refer to? Young uns that don't pay or the old 
fungus that has been putrifying on nooz standz fer 40 year? 

Nice gal, likely to marry and give up writing or what Oh ? 

267: To T. C. Wilson 

Rapallo y 30 October 

Dear Wilson: It wd. be abs. useless to send the poems to Eliot. He don't 
even like the best of Active AntL or 'admit' any of it, save him, me an* 



I don't think there is any chance for any yng. feller making a dent in the 
pubk. or highly select consciousness by means of pomes writ in the style 
of 1913/15. An thet's flat and no use my handlin you with gloves. 

I do not believe there are more than two roads: 

1. The old man's road (vide Tom. Hardy) — content, the insides, the 
subject matter. 

2. Music. And I am slowly gettin round to a few formulations, shocked 
largely by the god damn ignorance in which I have lived, and which 
wuz inherited from the generation of boobs who preceded me. 


If you can really roast Palgrave, or, better, treat Untermeyer's 

last as the prize specimen of Palgraveism, Criterion wd. prob. 

be joy'd. Eliot thinks Louie Unt has 'done more to discredit poetry in 
America than any man livinV The god damn slipperiness and funda- 
mental falsification of Unt's notes (Albatross Living Verse) is phenomenal. 
And if you can really write the disinfectant, the specific disinfectant for 
that, Tommy will print the strongest you can do. — / — / 

268: To William P. Shepard 

Rapallo, 23 November 

Dear Doc Shepard: — / — / If you, by the way, want to keep the students 
interested in contemporary French writing, there is after 10 years an 
awakening in Paris. Give 'em V Abominable vdnaliti de la presse or Ren6 
Crevel's Les Pieds dans le plat. Apart from which, I spose they have 
already had Cocteau. There are also Albert's Londres rapportages. La 
Chine en folie, the best of 'em. Young Rostand has done a bad play, 
Marchands de canons, vilely written, but with decent intentions. Polaire 
was very good in it. I don't seriously suggest anyone shd. read it, but it 
marks the turn from irresponsible snobism to constructive effort, or re- 
awakening of consciousness and conscience in France. 

Dif. between H. James and that ouistiti Proust. Pr. gives himself away 
in pref. to Morand's first book. The little lickspittle wasn't satirizing, he 
really thought his pimps, buggars and opulent idiots were important, 
instead of the last mould on the dying cheese. 

Ten years ago Gaby Picabia came into studio and saw Notturno on my 
table and lifted an eyebrow; I picked up a current Proust and said 'Well 
. . ? ' She answered ' Eeh, voui, vous avez raison.' 


J 933 — aetat 48 

Gabe (D'Annunzio) at any rate had the 'sperit ova man in him,' (and 
incidentally some of his later writings are dam good as writings, laconism, 
no frills and pantalettes, tho* of course he is likely to drop back into it at 
any moment). 

Incidentally the grease and fugg of England and the kowtow of their 
supposed aht reached an apex this spring. Elgar (if you know whom I 
mean? Sir Ed. O.M.) on being introduced to the Princesse de Polignac 
(before Menuhin concert) opens conversation with hoarse whisper: 
'Hyperion won.' (Condensed biography of the lady on request. However, 
as friend of Strawinsky, she was not deeply impressed by Ed's dogginess.) 

And so forth. — / — / 



269: To T. C Wilson 

Rapalloy j January 

Dear Wilson: — / — / Bill W. prob. one of four. You can't throw out 
either Yeats or Possum yet. And old BinBin looks as if he might 

have found the light at last after 45 years' labour. That punk C 

displays more ignorant stupidity in half a page than any known living 
animal except U . 

Pore old M Doin his damndest. Been running after Farrar to 

get my 31/41 printed. . . . Damn it all, he ought to be encouraged. Yet: 
vast difference between deriving, showing influence, being influenced and 
simply spoiling a job. I don't think he is 'accomplished,' just facile. So god 
damn easy to do a thing badly or approximtely or loosely after it has once 
been done with precision. Like all these people doing Picasso mandolins, 
with no regard to the shape. 

A guy named Cullis is beating up the Britons. Wants me to edit a mag 
again. I have replied that if he will bother, I wd. edit an annual (not a 
magazine, but an annual anthol. Not the same gang each year. If he swings 
it, I shd. want to see a batch of yr. mss. in say about 6 months' time. Also 
yr. views on yr. contemporaries and worthy confreres. 

My tentative scheme: to weed or omit elders in Active AntL; to look to 
Cambridge Left (Drummond, etc.), Bridson, Oppen (if energy don't fail), 
T.C.W., an unknown M. Barnard (??? nothing assured), Cullis, if pos- 
sible; Rakosi capable of anything more??? 

I don't think at my age it is a suitable job. I mean one can't select the 
next generation as one selects one's own, but it seems almost the only knot 
hole for new writers to get thru. Act. Anth. really clearing off arrears of the 
past 7 years. Ought to be something younger and fresher. 

Has Laughlin written anything? Apart from a few things in Hoot and 
Advoc}} Any rate, he's in no hurry, and I needn't worry. He's got two 
mags to spread in. But I do distinctly want guidance from younger man if 
I take on the job. 

Surely Bunting and Bridson must be better than Eliot's deorlings. Tho 
I dare say Auden and Bottrall {not Spender) are among young England's 


1934 — aetat 48 

best dozen. Can't remember the names of those guys at Cambridge 
(England), but thought they were awakening, as the neogeorgians are 


That snipe s. Ain't man enough to answer, but has adopted a good 

deal of information contained in private letter. I spose thet is the yitt 
coming thru. (Don't be an anti-Semite, and don't mention this, as it is 
better to have him cleaning the sewer than clogging it). 

Kemp, Goodman, Madge (at Cam.) — list discovered. — / — / 

270: To Sarah Perkins Cope 

Rapallo, 1 j January 

— J — / One of most valued readers seemed to find the Cantos entertaining; 
at least that's what he said after 20 minutes, with accent of relieved sur- 
prise, having been brought up to Italian concept of poetry: something 
oppressive and to be revered. 

Skip anything you don't understand and go on till you pick it up again. 
All tosh about foreign languages making it difficult. The quotes are all 
either explained at once by repeat or they are definitely of the things indi- 
cated. If reader don't know what an elefant is, then the word is obscure. 

I admit there are a couple of Greek quotes, one along in 39 that can't be 
understood without Greek, but if I can drive the reader to learning at least 
that much Greek, she or he will indubitably be filled with a durable grati- 
tude. And if not, what harm? I can't conceal the fact that the Greek lan- 
guage existed. 

Ole Binyon, by the way, has just made a rather interesting trans, of 
Dante's Inferno, carefully exposing all the defects of the original. Much 
better than exposing a set of defects not in the original. 

271: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapallo, 21 January 

My dear Laurence Binyon: If any residuum of annoyance remain in yr. 
mind because of the extremely active nature of the undersigned — (it is 
very difficult for a man to believe anything hard enough for it to matter 



a damn what he believes, without causing annoyance to others) — 
anyhow ... I hope you will forget it long enough to permit me to express 
my very solid appreciation of yr. translation of the Inferno. 

Criterion has asked me for a thousand words by the end of next week, 
but I am holding out for more space, which will probably delay publica- 
tion for heaven knows how long. When and if the review appears and if it 
strikes you as sufficiently intelligent, I shd. be glad thereafter to send you 
the rest of the notes I have made. Minutiae, too trifling to print. But at any 
rate I have gone through the book, I shd. think, syllable by syllable. And 
as Bridges and Leaf are no longer on the scene, the number of readers 
possessed of any criteria (however heretical) for the writing of English 
verse and at the same time knowing the difference between Dante and 
Dunhill is limited. 

I don't think one ever suggests an acceptable emendation but one does 
occasionally put one's finger on a slip or a momentary inattention or finds 
the spot where another man can tighten up his idiom. 

I was irritated by the inversions during the first 8 or 10 cantos, but 
having finished the book, I think you have in every (almost every) case 
chosen the lesser evil in dilemma. 

For 40 pages I wanted you to revise; after that I wanted you to go on 
with the Purgatorio and Paradiso before turning back to the black air. And 
I hope you will. 

I hope you are surviving the New England winter. There is a savage 

young man named Laughlin (Jas.), who may or may not be 

attending yr. lectures. Possibly too diffident to present himself or possibly 
thinks his opinions too heretical to make conversation agreeable. If you 
are meeting individual students, he is one worth bothering about. 

272: To Mary Barnard 

Rapallo, 22 January 

Dear M.B.: Do understand that at yr. tender age too much criticism is 
possibly worse than none. 

Roudedge promises to bring out my ABC of Reading by April or there- 
abouts. That contains/rarr of the lessons. — / — / 

There is so little Sappho that that won't take long, after you buy a crib. 
I personally think Homer the best Greek. But that don't mean you are 
warned off the grass re either iEschylus or Alexandria. 


1934 — aetat 48 

A uniyersity without the Lavignac Laurencie is a fare*. 

You hate translation??? What of it?? Expect to be carried up Mt. 
Helicon in an easy chair? 

Write yr. own ticket. Invent some form of exercise that don't depend on 
the state of yr. liver. Obviously an exercise means something that tires 
some muscle. 

'Lai' starts with something nearly a bad Sapphic line. Try writing 
Sapphics. And not persistently using a spondee like that Blighter Horrace, 
for the second foot. If you really learn to write proper quantitative 
sapphics in the Amurikan langwidge I shall love and adore you all the days 
of my life ... eh .. . 

provided you don't fill 'em with trype. 

I suppose The Dial was dead before you came? Do you know what is 
wrong with a rag like Hound and Horn} How much do you dislike it, and 
why? This is not a necessary question, but Dial and H andH typify a cer- 
tain kind of danger to educated American young. 

Much more important that you should like something than that you 
shd. dislike. . . . 

That's all I manage for the moment. 

273: To Robert McAlmon 

Rapallo, 2 February 

Dear Bob: Here we are again. My usual role of butting into something 
that is not strictly my business. But I think both you and Hem have limited 
yr. work by not recognizing the economic factor. 

Lot of damn rot and 'psychology,' people fussing with in'nards which 
are merely the result of economic pressure. Sort out the cussedness and the 
god damn idiocy which people keep after the pressure is removed and the 
meanness etc. due to A) immediate need; B) habit begotten of need and 
worry (plus reaction, booze etc. when the blighters can't stand staying 
conscious a minute longer). 

I think the whole of egoistic psychological nuvyeling is gone plop 
because the people who go on imitating Dostoiev. and die whole damn lot 
of 'em won't look at the reality. I.e. what was economics, or inevitable 30 
years ago, is now just plain god damn Stupidity, and people not having the 
guts to think what the monetary system is. Hell knows the neo-com- 
Y 337 


munists won't* They think the revolution is going to be in 19x8 in 

Lot of psychic bellyache not a problem any longer, any more than man 
being melancholy for lack of a pill. Just as damn silly as dying of thirst in 
an attic because some kid has turned off the water from the basement. 

People too lazy to examine the facts are not intelligent enough to write 
interesting books (reduced to bulls and memoirs depending on person- 

And thass that. J.J. drunk no more damn interest than anyone else 
drunk ... or rather that is an exaggeration. Still I do think any character in 
a Simenon 'tec* w(ould) probably make a better fardel to be carried up- 
stair (s). An so forth 

274: To T. C. Wilson 

Rapallo, (? February) 

Dear Wilson: — / — / Why the hell I was born patient, gord alone knows. 
You mightn't think it, but when I lose patience something is lost. It ain't 
that thur waren't any. 

Farrar is doing 31/41, but holding it back, God blast it, till autumn. 
Ought to have been in print last Nov. or at any rate before Roose took 
over the Fed. Res. deposits. 

Bill's worst work is in the 1 921/31 Collected. But there is some damn 
good stuff there. After all, the footchoor can leave out the slop. No, he 
ain't better than pore ole Possum, and we damn well need 'em 
both.— J — I 

When I see foist issue of McCoon I can tell better what's needed. 

As 'Arriet Monroe approached her eightieth birfday 

The Foundation thought it wd. be safe to entrust her 

with the destinies of Amurikan poesy. 

They had never had faith in her stability during her 

earlier period 

when she was only 60 or 70. 

Emend -— to Bulluwubby, and Coon can have that jem fer hit 



1934— aetat 48 

rjy. To Mary Barnard 

Rapallo, 23 February 

Baloney dollar makes postage ruinous here. 

The only book of any use on rhythm is Greek section in vol. I Encyclo- 
pedic de la Musique, Laurencie et Lavignac . Sold separately, I 

think it cost about 65 francs. No price mark on it. I don't know how much 
real use it wd. be . . . but I know nothing else of any use. I have never 
worked on it or with it, but it contains intelligent remarks. What they call 
solfege, or savoir divider une note, is the job. Whether text book is any 
more use than a text book on tennis or trapeze- work, I doubt. Precision in 
knowing how long the different notes take in a given place. 


nm "° m rm 

I suppose learning to play a Mozart melody, and seeing how it is writ- 
ten. Never mind the polyphony. 

Certainly dont worry about h andh, periodicals, etc. That part of letter 

There aren't any rules. Thing is to cut a shape in time. Sounds that stop 
the flow, and durations either of syllables, or implied between them, 
'forced onto the voice' of the reader by nature of the 'verse.' (E.g., my 
Mauberley.) Only stick to sapphics, till you can send me good ones. 

276: To the Princesse Edmond de Polignac 

Rapallo », (? March) 

My dear Princess: Thanks so much for the Janequin. The next step is to 
see whether I can entice the Savona singers to sing it (overlooking the old- 
fashioned nationalism in La Guerre). 

Settles one point, anyhow, namely that the sort of verbal values in the 
Arnaut Daniel have been completely thrown overboard in the Chant des 
Oiseaux, for sake of counterpoint, etc. 

The Marignan seems finally to dispose of Marinetti's illusion that he had 
invented something. I am afraid the fantasia you liked was more Miinch 



than Ign <oto >; I misunderstood his handwriting and thought it was merely 
from something outside the Chilesotti collection. I knew he had worked 
on the Tr&ors d'Orph6e before coming here. 

Gerald Hayes says the Oxford Press is sending me their edtn. of Wm. 
Young, whom he (Hayes) proclaims meraviglie e miracoli. The radiators 
have arrived, and I hope they will be connected for your convenience if 
you again honour us. 

277: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapallo, 6 March 
My dear Laurence Binyon: I am all for your going on with it, as you have 
begun at the bitter end. I have had proofs of the Criterion article, so sup- 
pose it will be in the next number. After you have seen it, I will send the 
marked copy; for the minutiae. I don't think it (the copy) wd. be much use 
without the article. 

You have the main quality. One can read the book as a book. The rest is 
now hardly more than a matter of proof correcting. 

By 'inversions' I meant any word out of its normal place. Than 1 
heaven you didn't bother about (it) at the start. Concept of English word 
order didn't exist in D's day anyhow. 

The one footnote I shall add, when I reprint, is from Lord Bryce, who 
was more intelligent than either of us and saw that Dante meant plutus> 
definitely putting money-power at the root of Evil, and was not merely 
getting muddled in his mythology. — / — / 

Inversions of accent, as you call 'em, are dead right (that will all be 
clear, I think, from Criterion article). 

All your work on Oriental art is bound to profit you when you get to 
the lighting of the Paradiso. Not one hour of it but can go into the render- 
ing. One's preparation for a real job is possibly never what one does when 
one thinks one is preparing. 

P.S. I wonder if you are using (in lectures) a statement I remember your 
making in talk, but not so far as I recall, in print. 'Slowness is beauty,' 
which struck me as very odd in 1908 (when I certainly did not believe it) 
and has stayed with me ever since — shall we say as proof that you violated 
British habit; and thought of it. 


x 934 — aetat 48 

278: To Felix E. Schelling 

Rapallo, April 

Dear Doc Schelling: As one of the most completely intolerant men I have 
ever met, the joke is on you if you expected to teach anyone liberality. 

As for my being embittered, it won't wash; everybody who comes near 
me marvels at my good nature. Besides, what does it matter to me, person- 
ally? 1 don't get scratched by it, but the howls of pain that reach me from 
the pore bastids that are screwed down under it and who have no outlet, 
save in final desperation writing to someone in Europe. 

A letter from a state university this A.M., along with yours, from a man 
whom I never heard of till he wrote me two months ago ; assured me that 
the American college, univ. etc. are farther gone than I (E.P.) think. 

I have never objected to any man's mediocrity, it is the idiotic fear that a 
certain type of mediocrity has in the presence of any form of the real. And 
the terror of newspaper owners, profs, editors, etc. in the presence olidea. 
I have documents stacked high, from men in most walks of life. Proved 
over and over again. No intellectual life in the univs. No truth in the press. 
Refusal to look at fact. 

It is nonsense to talk about my being embittered. I've got so much plus 
work going on that I have had difficulty in remembering what particular 
infamy I wrote you about. 

As for 'expatriated'? (Bunk). You know damn well the country 
wouldn't feed me. The simple economic fact that if I had returned to 
America I slid, have starved, and that to maintain anything like the stan- 
dard of living, or indeed to live, in America from 191 8 onwards I shd. have 
had to quadruple my earnings, i.e. it wd. have been impossible for me to 
devote any time to my real work. 

You subsidized drifters can talk. But can you, a man with a decent cul- 
ture, lie down in peace with Nic Butler as titular head of the country's 
intellectual life? The man who, apart from all his obvious grossness, has 
sabotaged the Carnegie fund. Not one damn cent of the half million a year 
that (it) costs the people has been spent on investigating the economic 
causes of war. Do you like it? Will you look at it? 

The author of Helen's underwear is the arbiter of American music. Tell 
that to yr. talented brother. 

What little life has been kept in American letters has been largely due to 
a few men getting out of the muck and keeping the poor devils who 
couldn't at least informed. And then when one did hand the American 



publishing world the chance to take over the lead from dying England, the 
bastard wouldn't take it. 

English edtr (p.c. arrived this A.M.) sic: 'Real hardship (sub-rosa) no- 
body really capable of writing here ! ' 

'Help! America.' God damn it, look at the facts. What I have done 
right down to this year. Got American authors printed abroad when the 
foetid American publishing system &on't print 'em in America, because 
the filthy money won't flow, because the profits to Judas aren't suffi- 
ciently probable and tempting. If there were not a hundred American 
writers younger than myself who are grateful to me for services rendered 
you might have some grounds for talking about 'help' ! 

No, doc, it won't do. You ask anyone who has met me or any one of a 
hundred correspondents about my being embittered. Disgust is one thing, 
but letting it get into one's own private Anschauung is another. 

For every lid you think I shd. tolerate, there are a hundred good guys 
screwed down under that lid (whether in la vie intellectuelle or in the 
accounting system). 

You ain't so old but what you cd. wake up. And you are too respected 
and respectable for it to be any real risk. They can't fire you now. Why the 
hell don't you have a bit of real fun before you get tucked under? 

Damn it all, I never did dislike you. 

279: To Sarah Perkins Cope 

Rapallo y 22 April 

Dear Sarah: It is like a Murkn college to decide that Eliot is a critic (and 
then not have The Criterion) — especially as his poetry is what matters. 

I have corrected the final proofs of my ABC of Reading, and that may 
save you part of yr. Mawrterdom. 

I mentioned some books in Instigations. I wonder what is 'available' 
and what you have read already. Try Browning's Sordello. Are you still 
young enough to read ole Unci. William Yeats? Or at least to tell me how 
it strikes the young and tender of yr. generation? 

I don't know why you shd., at yr. time of life, take up all the ugliness 
that the generations before you had to write in order to cure. 

New sculptor loose on the roof, and marble dust dappertutto. Vide seal. 

Get New Democracy which is the only contemporary paper in America. 

We have got to clean up the economic mess; and your genera- 


1934 — aetat 48 

don has got to understand how much of life can be cured by a very simple 
application of economic sense to reality (reality today being abundance 
of material wealth), poverty being an anachronism and all the god damn 
capitalist psychology being a disease that has eaten in thru every interstice 
of the mind. Distorted the vision of us that are supposed to be furthest 
from money. How much of capitalist literature can have a meaning in 
1950, 1 don't know. No one now writing can do anything of real interest 
unless they perform a few acts of mental hygiene. Mostly as simple as 
brushing one's teeth or using iodine on a cut. 

My generation needed R&ny de Gourmont. Yeats used to say I was 
trying to provide a portable substitute for the British Museum. I think 
Instigations was the university for people who were getting educated in 

We ought to modernize the economic scene during the next three years, 
and then stay civilized. Music up to Rapallo level, and a little good art and 

I ought to know what you have already read. B. Constant's Adolphe, 
Daphnis and Chloe. How can one know what the next generation will like? 
There is one list of books in my How to Read and another in my ABC. 
There are a few things out of print. Golding's translation of Ovid's 
Metamorphoses, certainly . . . and being an institution of learning yr. 
Eng. prof, will never have heard of it; though it was good enough for Wm, 
Shakespear. And any dept. of English is a farce without it. 

280: To John Drummond 

Rapallo, 30 May 

Dear D.: Re Anthl. of Exposures. Suggest you discuss it with 

Orage. More likely to get it printed as a series in N.E. W. than in a volume 
(or at any rate, than if you try it first as a collection). A.R.O. about off his 
nutt with trouble in finding live copy. 

Damn people wasting my time wanting information. Wish someone 

would attack the museum. They try to blackmail foreigners 

into giving them free copies; and absolutely on all living 

authors. I don't think you will find first edtns. of Cantos there either. Just 
the same as the peedling Tate Gallery refusing Epstein's Birds as a gift — 
which mattered; and presumably buying his later tosh at high figure. 

Theory of bugwash society: that writers and artists are not to be sus- 

Egoist was Harriet Shaw Weaver, . Titular edtr. Dora 



Marsden who wrote the front pages on 'philosophy' and left the rest free 
to letters. As nearly as I remember, I got them to appoint Aldington sub- 
edtr. and later got Eliot the job, though I remained unofficially an advisor 
without stipend. I think the files will indicate what I was responsible for, 
and at any rate I served as katalytic. H. W. deserves well of the nation and 
never turned away anything good. Also the few articles she wrote were 
full of good sense. She amply deserves Eliot's dedication of whichever 
book it was. 

No, of course the Museum hasn't The Little Rev. and they 

will have hell's own delight of a time to get it now; and any 

you can heap on 'em will be personally appreciated. Suggest you apply to 
the Duckegg of Marlborough (as the publication of Joyce after Consuelo 
subscribed promptly truncated my social contacts in ' them quarters.' Poor 
dear couldn't have it in the house wiff her growing sons (aged, if I remem- 
ber rightly, about 18 at the time). That's American refeenment fer yuh). 

Of course, J.J. never saw proofs of either Eg. or L.R. Eg. always secre- 
tive about circulation. Think it ended with 185 subscribers and I imagine 
no newsstand or store sales. 

I have L.R. here, but your bloke wd. have to see it on premises. I am 

not trusting it inside a country run by unadulterated and 

which stole 500 copies of the French edtn. of Ulysses and then blackmailed 
the importer into silence. Said if he continued to complain about the theft 
they wd. 'get him somehow,' meaning crab his further publication of any- 
thing. That is the spirit of England, especially of Brit, licherchoor, the 

Quarterly Review, Sir J. Swire, etc., the whole lot: Observer, 

Richmond of Times, etc. 

Nos. 1 and 2 of This Quarter can be consulted in Rapallo, but not very 

Despite The Egoist's having been necessary to print Joyce, W. Lewis, 
Eliot and a lot of my stuff that Orage would not have in The New Age, I 
wish the young wd. rally round New Eng. Weekly. Orage must be 60 by 
now. Can't expect complete flexibility, and he has to concentrate on what 
he understands. Nevertheless, much better than the new credit mags, 
which are more tolerant of stray opinions. And while he is stubborn as a 
mule, a little persistence usually makes him see the best of what he don't 
follow, though he won't give way on the almost. 

At any rate, he did more to feed me than anyone else in England, and I 
wish anybody who esteems my existence wd. pay back whatever they feel 
is due to its stalvarrdt sustainer. My gate receipts Nov. 1, 1914-15, were 
42 quid 10 s. and Orage's 4 guineas a month thereafter wuz the sinews, 
by gob the sinooz. 


J 934 — aetat 48 

281 j To Mary Barnard 

Rapallo, 13 August 

Dear M.B.: The Guggenheims have never been given to anyone recom- 
mended by me, Eliot or W. C. Williams. One scholar said she got in not 
because she cd. paint but because she had got recommends from college 
profs. In no case wd. I again touch the muck heap. I mean I won't recom- 
mend anyone. I wd. as soon shake hands with Hoover. But that is no 
reason for your not having a shot at 'em. Any incompetent prof will rouse 
their foetid inf. ex. less than a good writer. 

Put up a sober scheme for the investigation of Greek metres and music. 
Research in the Island of Crete or Athens museum for prehistoric indica- 
tions of the 1/8 tone scale by the minotaur, Daedalus' invention of the pre- 
jazz saw. Any god damn irrelevance you can think of, with soft note on the 
creative urge. 

The Ann Winslow, College Verse is O.K. as recommend to Gugg. Any 

of their mutton-headed sponsors cd. probably get you in. H , etc. 

Don't fer garzake mention me. 

Have you heard from T. C. Wilson? I don't want to nominate poems 
for his anthology, re which I am merely final arbiter between his American 
and Drummond's English selections. 

A mild velleity toward writing, and a pedantic interest in Greek scan- 
sion, or research into Greek metres with an aim toward improvement of 
modern verse. Or versification. Might just catch the heberew eye. But 
don't breathe my satanic name. You are not unpubd, if you are in College 
Verse, and ?? Poetry ox wherever. . . . 

Ad interim. Will look at yr. mss. when I get time. 

P.S. Wilson had some sort of prize at Michigan. He can prob. tell you 
about alternatives to Gigg. and IoWAAAAA. 

282: To Mary Barnard 

Rapalby 13 August 

Dear M.B.: Practical (or not) matters touched in this A.M.'s note. 

Re mss. I think you have as good a chance as anyone of the young. 

I don't know whether you have seen Active Anthology (Faber, oh damn 
7/6 shillings, so I suppose prohibitive in the U.S. unless some HBerry ! ! !) 



Routledge have pubd my ABC of Reading at 4/6 and the Yale Univ. are 
doing an Americ. edtn. Apart from what you might get from those vols, 
(the A.A. certainly not a model . . . but informative . . .) I don't know what 
others of yr. age are doing. Can only give estimate of intrinsic, etc. 

As you have got that far, I don't know what you can be told. Given the 
contents, what more can be done? 

Technically you can study music. And apart 5a, I think it is mainly a 
question of what, not how. 

There is a slight stiffness or old-fashionedness. . . . The language is still 
literary ('beholds' and 'wenches' are not live speech). All of which is very 
slight, in the given case, but cumulative . . J and damned hard to escape. 
Landor's marmoreal??? Etc. Etc. 

Re Gugg. make yr. Greek metre plan as impressive as possible. Throw 
in a lot of technical terms: Sapphic, Alcaic, etc. (with the correct spellings, 

Rousselot is dead. I don't know if the College de France phonetics dept. 
is going on with the phonoscopee 1 xperiments. However, that wd. give you 
excuse to pass thru Paris en route to Greece (where I don't imagine there 
is any real work to be done, but the Guggs. always have excuses for travel). 

Do you want to send yr. stuff to Marianne Moore, with request for 
criticism? From someone not so much in sympathy with the con- 

I am sending the unpubd. ones to Eliot. He is slower than coal tarrr and 
I don't suppose I shall get any action or answer out of him, but he is due 
here in October, if, etc. 

I still think the best mechanism for breaking up the stiffness and literary 
idiom is a different metre, the god damn iambic magnetizes certain verbal 
sequences. The lovely Mrs. Whatshername who died. What her name, 
married Ben£t. Wylie (Eleanor) etc. Different rhythm texture. Or take 
Helene Magaret — don't seem to go on. Don't worry about lightness. You 
ain't an Amy Lowell. Shall the gazelle mimic the hippo. 'Be yerrsellf!!' 
I've forgotten yr. age. But it's O.K. 

I have all, I have, confound it, to forge pokers, to get economic good 
and evil into verbal manifestation, not abstract, but so that the monetary 
system is as concrete as fate and not an abstraction etc. ... Is all I can do. I 
can't think out the answers for anyone else. 

1 "... M. Rousselot . . . had made a machine for measuring the duration 
of verbal components. A quill or tube held in the nostril, a less shaved quill or 
other tube in the mouth, and your consonants signed as you spoke them. 

M They return, One and by one, With fear, As half awakened each letter with 
a double registration of quavering." Polite Essays, pp. 129-130 


1934— aetat 48 

I don't see any other occupation for you than work on metre, rhythm, 
melodic line. And to set round watchin' and waitin'. 

You are probably more abundant than such of the younger males of yr. 
generation, as I know of, but then . . . what do I know about the compara- 
tive dynamisms. 

The definite vacancy is in melodic validity. There is definitely a place 
open and waiting. 

Nobody can do anything about their contents anyhow; it either is or 
j sn 't._/—/ 

283: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapalby 30 August 

Dear L.B.: When one has finally done the job and found the mot juste, I 
dare say violent language usually disappears. Rubens' technique (at least 
in one painting about 4 ft. square) is not stupid. I dare say I damned him 
for the whole groveling imbecility of French court life from the death of 
Franjois Premier to the last fat slob that was guillotined. — / — / 

And when one has the mot juste, one is finished with the subject; and 
American magazines come round 20 years later to ask you to be paid for 
recollecting it. 

Nic. del Cossa is now, I believe, considered the chief responsible for the 
Schifanoja frescoes. And I have since seen some Tura's corrupted by the 
Rotterdam or gotterdam dutch, or tinges with hell smoke. 

And my use of 'idiotic* is loose. You are quite right about that. Have 
always been interested in intelligence, escaped the germy epoch of Freud 
and am so bored with all lacks of intelletto that I haven't used any dis- 
crimination when I have referred to 'em. 

There is another essay in the new Faber vol. dealing with Guido's rela- 
tions (to Eliz. Eng.). I will ask 'em to send it you (shd. be out in Sept.). 
Also in ' Date Line,' the introd to the vol. 

A lot of my prose scribbling is mostly: 'There digge!' Plus belief that 
criticism shd. consume itself and disappear (as I think it mostly does in my 
ABC of Reading). 

Ballate and Canzoni mainly for music. Sonnets ceased, I think, to be for 
music; hence ultimately a drug on market and defective in certain sensi- 
bility. I have set a lot of Villon and a good deal of Guido (more of that 
another time, or viva voce). 

P.S. Power and speed to second Cantico. 

Let's say Rubens' interests were limited; a lot of the life of the mind, and 
a deal of the best of it, unknown in his entourage ? 



284: To Mary Barnard 

Rapallo •, 18 December 

Dear Mary: I was certainly right in telling you to work on sapphics. 
Metric work, your only rock to keep from being submerged in 'condi- 
tions/ Canby's weekly flux, etc. 

Keep at it. 

Have a care against spondee too often for second foot. The tension 
must be kept, and against the metric pattern struggle toward natural 
speech. You haven't yet got sense of quantity. And if you had, it wd. be 
something too easy to be worth wanting. 

'I am rich' is as near as 'rich am I,' the long vowel makes the syllable 
long, and a syllable that is open and easily sung long fits a long space, per- 
haps better than a short vowel with heavy consonant load. 

Sculptor* (plural) wd. perhaps be better language, and O.K. to end 
strophe. 'I send forth ships' (well, I dunno, 'I send ships forth.' All those 
syllables are long). 

'Lai 9 , I am emphasizing, present impression is that metrically it is 
your best to date. 

'Lie adept. 9 Several adjectives don't seem to do much. What happens if 
you remove 'courteous,' 'suave,' (gusto a second noun) 'No one,' for 
'none.' 'to pass' for 'to the passing,' and 'dipping of 9 (ing and 0/useless 
syllables; every syllable shd. have a reason for being there). — / — / 

If you think well of any of these suggestions, please write direct to T. C. 
Wilson and ask him to make 'em on the mss. 

Am passing 16 poems for the anthol. Omitting everything already used 
in College Vurrse. (Not sure, mebbe there are one or two more in ms.) 
Drummond is looking over. 

Anyhow, you're bein' the starr border and I hope you won't flop like 

H. M , and apparently the B goil is a floppin' already, unless Wilson 

has merely got a poor sample. 

At any rate yr. in the runnin fer the star lady purrformer and the young 
lads need a stronger parental hand than they want. 

You go on chawin at them Sapphics, with an Alcaic strophe on Sun- 
days. Remember the swat must strain against the duration now and 
again, to maintain the tension. Can't have rocking horse Sapphics any 
more than tu tum, iambs. 


1934 — aetat 49 
*85:ToW. H. D. Rouse 

RapaIIo y 30 December 

Dear Dr. Rouse: I did not suspect you of wanting the advertisement, but 
to make up for American defects one has to participate in the annoying 
virtues of one's tribe. It is barbarous, but there it is. If a thing is good, the 
bdy. murkn wants to do something about it (often before he quite knows 
what it is). 

The border line between 'gee whizz' and Milton's tumified dialect must 
exist. (Dante, in De Volgari Floquio, seems to have thought of a good 
many particulars of the problem.) 

I must have been obscure if you thought it was long words in the Greek 
that bothered me. I may feel a gap between Homer and the dramatists 
greater than that which really exists. 

Negroes in America love polysyllables and used to assemble most mar- 
velous collections of unexpected syllables. 

I have now read the 'Adventures' straight through with gt. enjoyment, 
and clearer view of what you were doing. I don't know whether my actual 
notes on minutiae wd. interest you or not? If so, I can send up the volume. 
Or summarize, as you like. 

I hope The New English Weekly will invite you to say something about 
the campaign for live teaching of Greek and Latin. That wd. come better 
from you than from me. 

There are more questions in my head than I can set down with any 
apparent coherence. 

Along with direct teaching of the language, is there any attempt to teach 
real history? ' Roman mortgages 6%, in Bithinya 12%/ 

I have been for two years in a boil of fury with the dominant usury that 
impedes every human act, that keeps good books out of print, and 
pejorates everything. 

Need for terminology, for articulation of terminology (for control of 
language). Decadence of thought, due to lack of observation of words. 
English contempt of literature and all the arts and 50 years of worse con- 
tempt in the U.S.A. It all goes into the kettle, and the broth is thin. It may 
be an illusion that the Middle Ages tried to define their terminology. Cer- 
tainly the last half century.did not. 

Have you any explanation for the obsolescence and decline of Gk. and 
Lat. studies after, let us say, the Napoleonic wars? 

Or, taking it from another angle, do you see in Brit, education during 



your time a reason why the country tolerates a governing class that can't 
see that: Work is not a commodity. Money is not a commodity. The state 
has credit. The increment of association is not usury? 

Until Latin teaching faces the economic fact in Latin history, it may as 
well leave out history. History without econ. is just gibberish. My genera- 
tion was brought up in black ignorance. Wherever one looks — printing, 
publishing, schooling — the black hand of the banker blots out the sun. An 
enlivening of classic study can come and come very quickly if the teachers 
will try to understand the question of the new tables. * There digge.' We 
have been taught sham history, a vomit. 

What I am trying to get at is, given the economic inferno that one has 
been through, trying to teach an elite and the present distracted writer 
cursed for every allusion he ever made to Greek or Latin, surrounded by 
people who complain that they can't ' understand ' a passage, for the simple 
reason that something Greek or Latin is mentioned. 

Granted the bulk of the sabotage and obstruction is economic and 
nothing else, there is the fact to be faced that the modern world has lost a 
kind of contact with and love for the classics which it had, not only in the 
1 8th Century and in the Renaissance (part snobism), but throughout the 
Middle Ages, when in one sense it knew much less. 

And life is impoverished thereby. 

'The truth makes its own style.' But education has been so rotten at the 
core, so falsified that every learning has fallen into contempt. {Latin 

Teaching No. 2, June 1934) Mr. C seems to me both an idiot and liar 

(speaking of frankness). His kind of parroting seems to me exactly what 
does keep people from studying the classics and keeps school boys from 
believing what teachers tell 'em. Meaning in more curial style, that with 
that sort of animal teaching and with that kind of mind eternally eligible 
for jobs in schools, one must have some communication of the classics to 
living man that is independent of schools. 

Some auxiliary means of teaching the intelligent boys who, being 

interested in locomotives at the age of 10, find C insufferable but are 

not of necessity hermetically sealed against literature at 19 or 30. 

Have I finally got round to my plea: for some means of communicating 
the classics to the great mass of people, by no means foreordained to eter- 
nal darkness, who weren't taught Greek in infancy? 

Eliot remarked of G. Murry (or however he spells it): 'He has erected 
between Euripides and the reader a barrier more impassable than the 
Greek language.' 

The 'Adventures' will be given to half a dozen people whose interest I 
have aroused in the Odyssey and been unable to slake, as they are all too 


x 934 — aecat 49 

sensitive to read the tushery provided by 'adorned' translations, though 
they might stick a couple of pages of Pope and a dozen or so of Chapman. 
Can you augment it? Can you keep the drive of the narration and yet 
put back some of what you have skipped ? What happens if you go through 
it again, making as straight a tale for adults? 

I take it the book of my essays to which you refer (cursed literary sen- 
tence) is Make It New. I wonder if you have seen my try at a text book 
(ABC of Reading) ? Or whether it wd. infuriate you if you did ? 

Coming back to your letter (it is plain I have not wanted to be in 
England for years, but I would now like to be within talking distance) 
about strong words and small children, I wonder if in natural state they are 
shocked ... or only after having used the words themselves and (been) 
reproved for it. . . . 

What you say about Greeks in part Italian today. Small child at Sir- 
mione saying 'ci sono anche piu depositi.' Someone had dug into a few 
Lombard graves and left 'em open. 

As to plain words: I wonder if it isn't part of writer's duty to clean them. 
A beastly writer can and often does defile his whole vocabulary, without 
least violence to correct syntax. 

On page 6 you have the node. All real narrative writing (the secret of 
Edgar Wallace, to emerge from your (presumable) groves) is great 
modesty. As long as the narrator can keep his mind on his story and not 
think about his waistcoat or whiskers. 

'Spade' for gelded she-dog gives place to 'bitch,' which oughtn't to be 
any worse than mare, cat, female of Tom-cat or gatto maoulador, and so 
forth. Cock can not be mentioned in America. All Americans are shocked 
by the English use of it to designate male chicken and stay so until they 
have been some time in Europe (at any rate all pre-prohibition Ameri- 

From my first outpour. To repeat that about Binyon: do you know 
him? He needs you. I need yr. criticism more than you do mine. Nobody 
has taught me anything about writing since Thomas Hardy died. More's 
the pity. 

35 « 


286: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo, 24 January 

You are quite right on the Atys element in all Anglo-Educ. 

Ref. my Cavalcanti Rime (partially reprinted in Make It New). Might note 
also that New English Weekly is giving more space to letushope live writ- 
ing as such. At any rate, Eliot and I prob. going into some sort of advisory 
board (whether publicly or unpublicly). 

Want new blood. Also I want (privately) news of state of opinion, etc., 
in let us say Durham (which is a place like another). Being out here, I have 
more time to reflect on such items than blokes in an office can. Don't 
worry about what you have been told you ought to think, but spill out 
what you do think and you may serve me as an extra eye. I need about 400. 
Also need counterweight; letters to N.E.W. office, to counteract resis- 
tance of the hang-backers. Trying for W. H. D. Rouse, Ogden, etc. In 
fact, want all the live minds. Don't worry about what I know; take a 
chance on my not knowing everything. Will do me no harm to hear the 
same news twice. Suggestions as to what hornets' nest thinks a lit. weeklv 
(with economic drive) ought to be and do. 

287: To E. E. Cummings 

Rapalby 25 January 

Waal; my deah Estlin an consort: You coitunly are a comfort inna woild 
thet is so likely to go aphonik. An wot with this bootshaped pennyinsula 
sufferin from premature bureaucracy ANYhow ! ! And we alius were having 
such a nice quiet revolution (continual); all but the local hill-habitators 
who are all out and bigod they won't have any more cow if they ain't got 
freedumb to leave tubercules in the milk. 
And so forth. Anyhow, the old line is beginnin to notice the new boys 


1935 — aetat 49 

in 40 lire neckties and a forrinoffice manner. And I hope it busts some- 
where else, so'z the boss can git on wiff it. 

Anyhow, the poems is sent to Lunnon espresso with a prayer to print all 
that can be print without pinching English printers, libitty-tea law being 
az iz. 

England needs you. I am afraid my popular style is rhetorical, just 
broad. Not very pointed. 

To R (M to England): Ye ha cad canny on food and drink 

The bairns can na eat your blather ', 
Youdbuggar a horse for saxpence 
Or sell up your dyin* father. 

Simple old-fashioned songs, I can no other. And anyhow, they wd. pass 
over the head of the pubulace. Note 'saxpence,' Lowland Scots for 'a 

In any case remember I'm oldern you are. 

As for new dollar substitutes, old tradition dies hard. I saw one yester 
week hung on pine tree by the sea board. Such is the Mediterranean spirit. 

And so forf. 

288: To C. K. Ogden 

Rapalloy 28 January 

— . m Instead of sending me Basic Eng. and ABC you have sent 

me a mass of light licherachoor with such repulsive titles as Carl and Anna 
havva banYana. 

You c'mon hellup me galvanize New Eng. Weekly. 

Ad interim, I have writ to two High and Mighty Romans. 

You might send a bit of propaganda to Ct. Galazzo Ciano, under 
sec. for Press; and Carlo Delcroix, himself; or Dr. Monotti, edtr. of 

Vittoria, . Monotti works just under Delcroix and wd. show 

him the stuff. With De Vechii at Ministry of Education there wd. be 
more chance of action than with some aesthetic mossback, sentimental- 
izing over Dela Crusca. Also Dr. Hugo Fack (GeselFs pubr.) 

is good ground and I have already interested him. 

I can't rewrite all Fenollosa's essay which is the most important item on 
my list of what you don't know. 

z 35) 


Re Frobenius and Bruhl. Intelligence is so b — fn rare that when one 
onct in 10 years, finds traces of it, the fact shd. cause joy. Bruhl just a pro* 
fessor. Frobenius thinks. Both of 'em wd. enrich sis What's-her-name's 
culture and enlighten her a lot more than some of the 47 varieties of bone- 
head whom she does mention. 

I proposed starting a nice lively heresy, to efFek, that gimme 50 more 
words and I can make Basic into a real licherary and mule-drivin' lan- 
guage, capable of bio win Freud to hell and gettin' a team from Soap Gulch 
over the Hogback. You watch ole Ez do a basic Canto. — / — / 

289: To Arnold Gingrich 

Rapalby 30 January 

Private. Dear Arnold: — / — / To run The Noo Yorker gaga you need 
Kumrad Kumminkz. Vide my New Eng. Weekly article. The Kumrad has 
70 poems thet nobuddy loves. And it za shyme he has to send 'em out of 
the country. Not that I am sure London will print 'em. But still, the cachet. 
To git the younger pubk there iz nuthin like Kumrad Kumminkz. I mean 
you got Hem's lots. Cummin'sh has the others. And where t'hell is ole 

Give my regards to hofF, I shur like his drawin' wot hazza lot the mugs 
ain't agoin' ter see. That boy can put the lines right where they beelong. 

Waal, damm if I can see the diff between Hem tellin the bastids to look 
at the etchings and me tellin 'em to look at the skullpschoor. But so iz it. I 
admit when they look at them nice old-fashioned engravins they can see a 
park bench anna brothel, and besides the bloke iz in jail. 

A couple of bawdy songs from father Eliot wdn't go bad with the elec- 
torate. I see he has written a play. Mebbe a few lyrics sech az: 

When I was only a slip of a girl 

Wot couldn't eat more'n a couple of chops . . . 

or of course 'Bolo,' which I am afraid his religion won't now let him 

print. Well thet wdn't do fer yr. family maggerzeen nohow. 

But still he might supplement Rascoe, or etc. 

And what iz gone wrong with McAlmon? The kid just playin* the fool, 
or wotever? Too bad some of his best have been printed, though hardly 
more than privately printed. I hope he ain't gone plumb to hell. 


1935 — aetat 49 

290: To C. K. Ogden 

Rapalloy 7 February 

ad interim. Respected Og: Compliments on 'Idola Fori,' and up to p. 48 
where I now am (rising for an interval, a breath, etc.). I shall perform due 
salaams, etc. publicly. After a shot at sis what's her name, and commenda- 
tion of Blondel. 

I have yet to see that Richards is much use. (Willing to learn, but no 
need of concealing doubts now present.) 

Have duly noted refs to Lev-Bruhl and Leibnitz on what he didn't know 
about ideogram. 

Got to have you in N.E. W. if I am to keep them at it. 

I take it my note on Basic will be in issue for 14th. If you see any way 
that my criticism can be more constructive than I am likely to make it, 
don't be backward about suggesting it, either in print or privately. I shall 
try to make it clear that I am all for building, mostly on yr. foundation. 

Eng. print so smeared with personal sniping and clique politics that any 
definition of limitations or any definition whatever is likely to be taken as 

So far (provisional estimate), Richards started and more or less lay down 
on you. Blondel lectured and is serious character, 

For the rest, you have done yr. damndest with the personnel you cd. 

I shd. be grateful for notice of any serious thought in Eng. outside 
Psyche group. . . . Had you been possessed of my apostolic fury, you cd. 
have 'sold' me some of it five years ago when I was trying to prod you 
into pubng Eng. edtn of Fr. Fiorentino. I still doubt if (as pedagogy, etc.) 
there is any Eng. introd. to history of philos. as clear as F.F. up to Leib- 
nitz, or wherever the first edtn stopped. And maintain my suspicion that 
after Leib we have either trype or derivatives from material science 
(roughly speaking) . . . nothing a man with any real brain cdn't do better 
with half an hour's thinking than with mucking around with printed 
material, until you did yr. job of chucking out useless verbiage. 

As Frobenius functions, I consider him interesting. Also I return to my 
emphasis on Fenollosa's essay, neither of which elements I have yet found 
in the Ortho. pubctns. I can't see 'em as destroying or invalidating, but 
definitely as augmentive. 

I shd. also appreciate confidence of list of serious characters in England, 
if any known to you. My own, outside the field of economics, is very short. 


291: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo, 22 February 

Dear Dr. Rouse: A week or ten days ago I made some notes on yr. first 
book but did not send them because I thought: 

I. Most important thing is that you finish the new translation in your 
own way and own spirit, uncontaminated. 

II. In any poem of length the first essential is the narrative flow. My 
sticking and probings might bother you. 

Now Mairet writes me he has written you saying he thinks he can use 
the stuff nowy about a page a week, starting next month (which I suppose 
means March). 

I am therefore sending you the ms. sep. cov. registered. 

292: To E. E. Cummings 

Rapallo, February 

My dear Estlin: Don't be more of a fool than nature has made you. Poor 
Mairet is doin' his damndest and can't risk suppression. England wd. cer- 
tainly stop the paper the minute it . But once past the initial 

difficulty and once you get a real toe hold in that funny, o very, country, 

I don't think you wd. have difficulty in away to yr. 

content. In between book covers; and in de lookx editions. Ref to the Rev. 
Arnaut Daniel on the value of fast movers who like 'em slow (male as 
opposed to Mae's view). 

I am, concretely, and without hyperesthesia, aimin at an Eng. edtn of 

Eimi. And I think a delayed is worth that. (And the poem as 

pore Mairet did it, still retained quite a good deal of pleasure for the 
reader. . . . ) 

May I say to the rev. etc. and so forth E.E.C. as has been said to me 
(even thru years of greater etc. so to speak gulf stream etc.): you are not 
known in England. However bad for yr. feelings, this means that you 
ain't known either much or enough. Graves' bloomsbugg ain't enough. 
Tho I admit the company of bro. hoff will be more entertainin' than that 
of the prospective Ogden and whatever other bloody brits one can scare 
together, still it wd. be even more entertainin to bring hoff and the Arch- 
bishop together. Not that his Left Reverence has yet N.E. Wa\ 


1935 — aetat 49 

Why don't them buzzards in Noo Yok play bro Tibor Serly's muzik? 
Stokowsky keeps promising, and then Tibor has to come here or go to 
Budapesth for concerts (hand made) or orchestrated. 

At any rate buggar the castration complex. Mairet, Nott, Newsome 
have not got it. It is a plain question of the cop on the corner and a shut 
down of the works. 

Whoa down yew skittish thoroughbred . . . and wait fer the steam roller 
to pass. 

If we had Doug divedends we could print what we like when we got ready. 
This here in'erest in soshul credit ain't confined to pertatoes. 

293:ToW.H.D. Rouse 

Rapallo, February 

Dear Dr. Rouse: To come down to trifles, or perhaps they aren't. Certain 
words seem to me 'literary,' no longer living, no longer used in speech as I 
heard it during my 12 years in England. Never have I heard the word 
'flight' spoken, though one reads it in detective stories. 

Poor old Upward had a lot to say about Athene's eyes, connecting them 
with her owl and with olive trees. The property of the glaux, and olive 
leaf, to shine and then not to shine, 'glint' rather than shine. Certainly a 
more living word if one lives among olive yards. 

I wonder if those blighters have sent you my XXX, or if they are wait- 
ing for the new 31/41.... 

Do we say 'courteous,' or do we say people have 'good' or 'nice' 

' Kind sir, will you be angry' seems to me fairy tale. ' Pardon me, sir, but 
I hope you won't be offended '. . . . 

Is it English or American to say 'Is it yr. first visit' or 'Is this yr. first 

I don't know that one needs keep 'Allow me to inform you' where the 
next phrase is clear, and the tone of voice carries the meaning (178). 

'Oh well' not 'Ah well.' 

I don't see that one translates by leaving in unnecessary words; that is, 
words not necessary to the meaning of the whole passage, any whole pass- 
age. An author uses a certain number of Hank words for the timing, the 
movement, etc., to make his work sound like natural speech. I believe one 
shd. check up all that verbiage as say 4% blanks, to be used where and 



when wanted in the translation, but perhaps never, or at any rate not 
usually where the original author has used them. 

Alas, as you are writing English, you can't call them there bloody gal- 
lants, * cake-eaters' or 'lizards/ 'dudes/ 'gigolos,' 'young scum' (I sup- 
pose my native tongue is still more flexible than English: 'good for 
nothing young sprigs,' 'fils k papa,' 'spooners,' 'saps'). 

P. 13. A. Won't all the meaning go into: 'And put twenty oarsmen into 
the best ship you can find.' 

When I suggested your doing a translation with all the meaning, I 
didn't mean merely to put back words, or translations for words. 

I thought that passage about Odysseus on the mast, under the cliffs, has 
more boy scout craft than you gave it. I thought the situation of Mercury 
and Calypso has more inside it. 


'And Antinous Eupertheson answered: "Telemachus has apparently 
spoken with one of the gods, and learned a great deal of rhetoric. I hope he 
will inherit the throne of his fathers in Ithaca." ' 

No use: I can't fit my sentences into your cadence, but the only way I 
can express what I am driving at is to put down some sort of scaffolding. 

'"Much as the idea may annoy you, I wd. accept it," said Telemachus. 
"There's no harm in being a king. Kings accumulate property, and are 
greatly respected. There are other Greek kings, one of them, a young one 
or even an old one might succeed the noble Odysseus, if Odysseus were 
dead, but in that case I shd. at least be master in my own house." ' 

I wonder if the word 'canny' (kenn?) wdn't be a useful word here and 

The theioio: not sure you don't shock me for a change. 

What about Zeus saying: ' How can I forget Odysseus, the fellow is one 
of us,' or 'How can I forget Odysseus, who is one of us, one of our own 
kind,' or 'almost one of us.' 

'A man with a mind like that comes near to godhead'; 'when a man's 
got a mind like that even the gods respect him' (' can respect'). 

294: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo, 3 March 

Dear Swabey: Having wasted postage in endeavour to save it, mind begins 
to function. 

Have noted young Engmn waste time in not getting started; as cf. 
Americans or Latins. Have seen Englanders footlin round at age of 32, 


J 935 — aetat 49 

having graduated at Oxon, and not knowin' what they mean to do. Don't 
matter much what job a man learns, so long as he learns it; then if he wants 
to change, he can do something different and do it well. 

Plenty use for man now who goes into Church with eyes open. Say, 
having read Trollope's The Warden and knowing what he is up against. 
Church organization: any man patient enough to go into it, bear it, and 
use it cd. be of great use to his country. 

This apropos yr. wanting Troubadours, but not indicating if you mean 
to use study directly to make your own metric, or just from general inter- 
est in kulchoor. 

I strongly suggest you make a study of ecclesiastical money in England. 
Not numismatism; but to know what the Church issued, under what regu- 
lations; ratio metal value to currency value; whether Bracteates issued; 
paper, if any. When, if ever, did usury cease to be mortal sin? It still is in 
Roman and must be in Anglo-Cat. Let in for greed and forgotten from 
ignorance, probably. A start for a young man, and his ultimate reach often 
matter of knowing and being known by intelligent people soon enough. 

'We* need a good study of church money, bishop's powers, etc. Most 
suitable study for young cleric. Eccl. Soup-eriors wd. have to approve . . . 
or look fools. Durham ideal spot to start work. 

You understand, general study of any large subject is no good. But you 
start any specific line, and as no one has sorted it out, you are bound to 
gather a lot of general information and prob. remember the live parts of it, 
as you never wd. if you were just studying history or ecclesiastical hist. 

I imag. there is plenty of stuff pubd. re Vatican coinage. But like as not 
no coherent study of English bishops'. Whole tenor of the acts; theories 
on which; morals or theologies on which they issued circulating medium. 
In fact, a way to meet all yr. elders who are worth knowing. 

I believe Calvin was the black devil, but no means of finding specific 
passages at this distance from reference library. 

295: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapalloy 18 March 

N O NO ! Doc: Here you are backslidin' on all your highly respectable 
principles and slinging in licherary langwidg and puttin' yer sentences all 
out of whack. 

'Odysseus' boy jumped out of bed as rednailed etc. appeared thru the 
dawn mist,' or whatever; and if he reached for his six-shooter before 



puttin* on his boots, that is a point to be made, as highly illustrative of the 
era. A guards officer wdn't. But I reckon in Idaho in the 8o's Blue Dick or 
Curly might have. And for his feet, they ought to be well-kept, or elegant 
or patrician otherwise they slide into book-talk. 

Tain't what a man sez, but wot he means that the traducer has got to 
bring over. The implication of the word. 

As fer them feet, the blighter had been usin cold cream, the bloomin' 
Bloomsburry knut ! ! 

I will discuss eagles with my venerable parent, as he remembers when* 
an Injun brought old Abe into Chippewa. That eagle went all thru the 
Civil War and is supposed to have squawked above battles and come home 
with the regiment and been stuffed and then burnt when the Wisconsin 
capital burned. 

What about magic and augury and luck-finding eagle feather? I am 
bone ignorant of the subject, but have vague feeling that something or 
other, etc. . . . 

I think the openings of the books need especial care. This first page of 
book two is bad. I mean it is just translation of words, without your 
imagining the scene and event enough^ and without attending to the 
English idiom. The 'THOKOS,' I suppose central chair, if more than 
one; king's chair. 

People have been trying to translate this for 400 years. Can't be done 
easy. Very definite sense: Telemachus growing up and asserting himself. 
It is the vividness and rapidity of narration, three little scenes, all alive. 
That is writing. I just don't think you've yet got it. At any rate I'd like to 
see a 'rewrite' as if you didn't know the words of the original and were 
telling what happened. 

Excuse this firmness, but hang it, anything else wd. be waste of both our 

296: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapalhy 28 March 

KIYRypes ! ! I keep on readin at this Morterarium. Waaal, I suppose it is a 
just estimate of the mortician's parlour which is England. Wd. take me six 
weeks to weed out a M the assinine statements. It wd. be nice if you wd. 
reserve say 4 pages per issue to tell the reader honestly what is fit to read. 
Hen. Miller having done presumably the only book a man cd. read for 
pleasure and if not out Ulyssesing Joyce at least being infinitely more part 


1935 — aetat 49 

of permanent literature than such 1/2 masted slime as the weakminded 9 
W. . . • female, etc, my note on Hank ain't there. 

However, gor ferbidd that I speak modest ever again about anything I 
find fit to recommend. If you print Brid. you can print Bunting's Firdusi, 
which certainly is good enou(bloody)gh fer 'em. 

Re translating ole Rouse is getting stubborn, won't pay any attention to 
Aurora's manicuring or Telemachus' feet. Damn. And he might have been 
useful stimulus both to Bunt, and Bin. — / — / 

Song fer the Muses' Garden 
Ei Po and Possum 
Have picked all the blossom^ 
Let all the others 
Run back to their mothers 

Fer a boyes bes friend i^ hi{ (Edipus^ 

A boy's best friend is his QEdipus. 

A li'l hard on Brid. and Co., tryin so hard, but still true enough to be 
stingy. Krypes, young England led by an udder. Madge who started ex- 
treme (ne c'est pas) doing the Bloomsbury bend. Contradicting what he 
has just said re Hazlitt, Cobbett fer the sake of a prospective 9/ and six 

Waal, anyhow, I have read mos' ov yr. muggyzeen fer onct and wish I 
cd. git at the bastids with a acid cleaner. I'm not being merely skittish and 
deskruktiv. Mairet is the only English contributor I can read with respect, 
(Oh well; the Binbin is about up to Browning's average verse, that's 
trans.) I mean among the blokes that are explaining something or crizisin'. 

Nickerson is an ass. 

Read, as usual. All the damn brits got a layer of suet three inches thick 
over their wits. 

On whole purty high average for a Lunnon wyper. 

297: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo, 17 April 

I don't know that I have been clear enough re recurrable epithets— either 
to be simple and natural so that repeat don't worry one, or else strange and 
part of definite intended stylization. 

Glauxy owl, totem or symbolic bird (gods connected with the divine 



animals, as stupid bitch Hera has her bull eyes), glare-eyed, owl-eyed 

The Apollo at Villa Giulia gives tip to Mediterranean gods; startling, 
sudden, none of that washy late stuff done by sculpting slave models, nor 
afternoon-tea Xtian piety. Gods tricky as nature. 

'Wine dark* I shd. accept. It is outside northern belief, but tells some- 
thing about Mediterranean water that has to be seen. 

Blond Menelaus: small dark Pelasgians or Mediterraneans still believe in 
cuckolding large Nordic fatheads. Cucufier un anglais, etc. At any rate, he 
has blond temperament, not redhead but note that as language you can 
repeat carrot-top, sorrel-top, reddy, whereas hair colours sound literary. 
As black-headed, etc. 

The Nordic Menelaus. As to character of Odysseus. Anything but the 
bright little Rollo of Chamber's Journal brought up on Sam Smiles. Born 
un po* misero, don't want to go to war, little runt who finally has to do all 
the hard work, gets all Don Juan's chances with the ladies and can't really 
enjoy 'em. Circe, Calypso, Nausicaa. Always some fly in the ointment, last 
to volunteer on stiff jobs. 

298: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapalloy April 

Dear Dr. Rouse: Sorry, but I am afraid I think the start of V. just plain 
damn bad. Careless, frivolous. Missed opportunities all over it. 
Let's list the aims: 

1. Real speech in the English version. 

2. Fidelity to the original 

a. meaning 

b. atmosphere 

No need of keeping verbal literality for phrases which sing and run 
naturally in the original. But, the THEOIO is strong magic. 

The Argicide, Hermes, carried past, the movement with the wind 
takes the god into nature. It is raw cut of concrete reality combined with 
the tremendous energy, the contact with the natural force. The reality that 
becomes mere pompous rhetoric in Milton. The miracle of Homer is that 
great poesy is everywhere latent and that the literary finish is up to Henry 


1935 — aetat 49 

I think I have already mentioned to you, or at any rate printed, Dazzi's 
surprise at the modernity of Cavalcanti. * What, paroles en liberty ! ' 

I come back to my first opinion re the way to get the job done, namely 
that you shd. run on, in your own way, to the end and then go back and 
look more carefully at the meaning of each let us say phrase (not word) of 
the original. 

I simply don't believe than any man could do the masterwork that a 
definitive English Odyssey should be at the speed you are going. 

Who makes the living line must sweat, be gheez ! 

I appear to be the last living Rhadmanthus, Turco the Terrible and the 
only fool left on earth who calls down the mighty from their seats (and 
then watches 'em clinging to the tacks in the upholstery). 

Process usually conducted in taciturn aloofness . . . indicated in cessa- 
tion of correspondence. 

Then I hear N. Angell is weeping in public that I birched him. (Evi- 
dence not yet to hand.) 

299: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo, 23 May 

Dear Dr. R.: Yes, keep on sending it and don't worry about my time. 
What else have I ? And what is money good for but to save time ? 
I can't translate the Odyssey myself. 

A. Am on a job (or perhaps two or three) that needs all the brains I've 

B. Too god damn iggurunt of Greek. 

C. When I do sink into the Greek, what I dig up is too concentrative; 
I don't see how to get unity of the whole. 

I suspect neither Dante nor Homer had the kind of boring 'unity* of 
surface that we take to be characteristic of Pope, Racine, Corneille. 

The Nekuia shouts aloud that it is older than the rest, all that island, 
Cretan, etc., hinter-time, that is not Praxiteles, not Athens of Pericles, but 

I keep nagging you, because a trans, of the Odyssey seems to me so enor- 
mous an undertaking, and the requirements include all the possible mas- 
teries of English. 

A best-selling novelist said apropos my Propertius that he (the novelist) 
couldn't do anything like that, 'I got no depth. 9 When one starts to praise 



the Odyssey, very hard not to get rhetorical. The deep is so deep, like clear 
fathoms down. 

Para thina poluphloisboio thalasses: the turn of the wave and the scutter 
of receding pebbles. 

Years' work to get that. Best I have been able to do is cross cut in 
Mauberley, led up to: 

. . . imaginary 
Audition of the phantasmal sea-surge 

which is totally different, and a different movement of the water, and 

Hell ! There is work work work all over the job. 

The first essential is the narrative movement, forward, not blocking the 
road as Chapman does. Everything that stops the reader must go, be cut 
out. And then everything that holds the mind, long after the reading, i.e., 
as much as is humanly possible, must be clamped back on the moving 
prose. It is enough to break six men's backs, and if you hadn't been there in 
a sailing boat, I shd. lie down and surrender. . . . — / — / 

300: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo, 6 June 

Dear Dr. Rouse: — / — / 1 thought I had given plenary approval to Nanny 
and all yr. country idiom, any real speech. 

Card just reed. Possibly you are Greek enough to take complete 
cynicism as part of divine equipment and that I am so Xtian that a lying 
god tickles my funny bone. 

You a goddess ask of me who am a god, 
Nevertheless I will tell you the truth. 

Goddess wd. know anyhow, so no use the habitual mendacity, put as 
many folds on it as you like. 

Pickthall, who knows his Near East, said veracity is only valued where 
people are in a hurry and set value on quickness. 


The chief impression in reading Homer is freshness. Whether illusion 

or not, this is the classic quality. 3000 years old and stilly?^. A trans, that 

misses that is bad. Must get new combinations of words. I can't recall 


1935 — aetat 49 

' patient protagonist * as occurring in English. I use this as example. A trans, 
of meaning. I repeat Dazzi's scandal re Cavalcanti using 'paroles en 
liberty ' and also wonder about yEschylus and syntax, whether editors 
haven't tried to put back too much. 

Dear W.H.D.R.: Press of work and disgust with the abysmal filth of the 
world as piled up in evidence on my desk by the Daily Post has kept me 
off this job and I go on a trip next week. 

A very sensitive American writer (undergrad) here present has gone 
thru yr. ms. He is getting ready to write good novels. Last night he 
objected at first glance that yr. ms. was full of classroom phrases, and 
hopelesty and why did I think, etc., etc. 

301: To Harriet Monroe 

Venice, 13 August 

Editress Poetry: In the interest of truth affecting others, I ask correction of 

the most flagrantly and blatantly mendacious statement in G 's 

August note: 'Like Douglas he ignores the fact that labour is an integral 
factor in the denomination of money values.' 

This is crass stupidity on G 's part. The 'cultural heritage' is the 

accumulated fruit of labour, mental and physical. 

The item in my volitionist statements beginning 'If money is considered 
as a certificate of work done' ought in itself be enough to show that 
G either does not want to learn anything, or is incapable of so doing. 

The term Arbeitswert on the immortal issue of Woergl notes would also 
indicate a similar perception of a standard of value to have been in the con- 
sciousness of the Gesellite protagonist. Not of course that I accuse 

G of wanting to give a fair and honest statement of my economics. 

He joins the series of nitwits who since the autumn of 1909 have tried to 
turn the clock backward in dealing with my chronology. 

Considering the anti-Fascist slogans of the Green Shirts in England, 

Mr. G also shows himself bolchevikly ignorant of the Social Credit 

Movement. Which is what one expects of him. 



302: To John Cournos 

Rapallo, 25 September 

Dear Cournos: Are you in touch with any of these Rhooshun blokes you 
write about in Criterion} As there is no way of getting one grain of sense 
into Communists oaf side Russia, would there be any way of inducing any 
Rhoosian intelligentsia to consider Douglas and Gesell? Especially Doug, 
as a phase of Communism suited to countries already in a higher state of 
technical development than their own. Converging movements. Doug's 
distribution effective for technological phase whereas Russia started in 
agricultural condition. 

Gesell providing the great implement for breaking grip of finance. 
Allow for conspiracy of bankers and the new 7% Russian loan. But get the 
idea to some decent bloke (if any exists). The only real one I ever met was 
O.K., but all American Communists are, as far as I can discover, absolute 
boneheads, tinhorn repeaters. 

I note Mr. Gingrich has yielded. If you can find out anything that wd. 
be useful to me re that locality, do so. 

303: To Basil Bunting 

Rapallo, December 

— / — / The poet's job is to define and yet again define till the detail of sur- 
face is in accord with the root in justice. (Rot) to submit to the transient. 
.But poetry does not consist of the cowardice which refuses to analyse the 
^transient, which refuses to see it. 

The specialized thinking has to be done or literature dies and stinks. 
Choice of the field where that specialized analysis is made has a percentage 
of relevance. In no case can constipation of thought, even in the detail, 
make for good writing. Lucidity. — / — / 



304: To James Laughlin 

Rapalby (. ; 5 )January 

No real literature will come out of people who are trying to preserve a 
blind spot. That goes equally for ivory tower aesthetes, anti-propagandists 
and communists who refuse to think: Communize the product. 
Dear Jas: I suggest, in order not to over balance yr. pages with Ez, you 
take to using a brief like the above in most issues. In black letter if you 
think advisable. You can preach on same text when/if you want to. 

I want information re what papers exist. Cur. Controversy I haven't seen. 
But I want a list of papers. Does the existence of Herald Tribune 'This 
Week' imply that 'Books' no longer bubbles? 

Also if I gitta choinulist's ticket, lemme know what cheap hotelz iz in 
N.Y. where you don't git bumped off by gunmen. 

The Kumrad, Mr. E. E. Cummings, i\ back . You better see 

him. He wd. prob. sacrifice one of his bright inimitable but with difficulty 
saleable verses to New Democracy. Also as Frobenius haz bin interjuiced 
to Havid, the Advocate might be ripe for a bit of Joe Gould's Oral History. 
Or N. Dem. get a good bit. 

Waal, I heerd the Murder in the Cafedrawl on the radio lass' night. Oh 
them cawkney woices, My Krissz, them cawkney woices. Mzzr Shakzpeer 
still retains his posishun. I stuck it fer a while, wot wifF the weepin and 
wailin. And Mr. Joyce the greatest forcemeat since Gertie. And wot iz 
bekum of Wyndham ! 

My Krrize them cawkney voyces ! 

305: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo, 26 March 

Dear Swabey: As far as page 22. Bishops' money very interesting, and what 
a louse Calvin was. A pimp, not even a pornoWkos. I shall take steps 
toward noise toward hope of getting some of it printed. 



i. My 'Churrrch of Rrrome' article is good because my archivescovo 
went through it, 'Saevos raffrenare equos.' Not to change ideas, but effec- 
tively showing that I had dragged in several irrelevant remarks and that 
after all a man needn't try to say everything in one article. Article thence 
improved by omitting irrelevant sentences. I pass on this ecclesiastical 
wisdom. Latin mind a great comfort. 

1. 1 suggest you cut irrelevant remarks on cinema; and stick to money. 
Though you might leave the remark on 'better he had accepted fornica- 
tion' or whatever it was. Don't try to write a sermon while doing a differ- 
ent job. There'll be plenty of Sundays later. 

II. Sort out Calvinsim from Church of England. Calvin is about 

100% , but you shd. for teleological pragmatism (??) get the 

Church of England on the right side of aequitas as far as possible. Show 
that the bastards who are pro-usury are against at least some decent 
Anglican authors. That can be done by inserting a couple of paragraphs. 

Calvin (? surely never part of England's religion?) haeraesiarchus 
putridissimus, etc. But on the other hand, the respectable Anglicans, 
Rogers, Andrewes (whom Eliot dare not disagree with), etc. I suspect 
Inge and Ingram are Calvinists and unfrockable. Let the bug-headed ape 

of cleanse his own brothel, etc. (Language to be softened 

before transmitted to the lowly and profane layman.) 

Tithes don't really come in. They are a dividend (not a fixed rate, I 
think) paid for keepin up the cultural heritage, which is not limited to 
material things. 

P. 25, final paragraph: law of 1624 — Usury is an evil; above 8% it be- 
comes a punishable criminal offense. 

Will write to and try to unparalyze Mr. Eliot. Forget if you have met 

There are 30 or 40 typing errors in this copy: single letters. Unfortun- 
ately I was reading lying down without pencil or cd. have corrected 'em. 
On last page you say 'church' has not made distinction. It shd. be 
'English Church,' as I think the Scarrrlett Wumman Rome has distin- 
guished (in fact, you come to that further down the page). . . . 

At any rate, good job; not yet perfect. But enjoyable reading. 

306: To Joseph Gordon MacLeod 

Rapallo, 28 March 

Dear MacLeod: Bravo! I am damn sorry you have lost your capital be- 
cause every farden in these days is a plank in the tiny raft that civilization 


1936— aetat 50 

was floating on. And yr. loss adds that much to my grudge against the 
damn tee-yater. But you probably saved your soul and lost yr. caste marks 
in the process. 

You might note my article on the Church of Rome in Soc. Credit for 
March 20. Plus communist denunciation of me on March 17th in New 
Masses. Plus Italian Bank Reform and the penetration of half a dozen 
Italian reviews and the Osservatore Romano, etc., by Por and myself 
writing, if you like, post-Douglas. Corporate State, hierarchy of values, 
and Italy where a man damn well is not valued merely or even more than 
1 5 % (if that) for his money. 

Damn, I saw some of the Centaurs and thought Faber promised to print 
it. The abandonment of you by Eliot, Adrian, and the non-contact with 
Faber's blue china and slush boys, iz all plus with me. 

I won't argue with you over single sentence, of necessity obscure, until 
I know you have read my three books on econ: ABC, Impact, Jefferson 
and/or Mussolini, and my current notes and articles. Or till you assure me 
you know where the world has got to in fight against the big usurers, 
Westminster bank in particular. 

The fine old word 'an independence* meaning not to be slave to con- 
troller of credit. The 'owner* damn well does not control the output of his 
factory. The market is lord and the bank (save in Italia) has a corner on 

Hell, Eliot won't print me either, except when I am harmless (they have 
been trying to find something harmless for a year. Meanwhile Routledge, 
Nott and the yanks have had to print several items). And my book on 
money is held up, and the second vol. of the Make It New series has been 
split into segments. 

Use or own. Damn it, I don't want to buy or own every hotel I stop in. 
Ownership is often a damnd nuisance, and anchor. It was my parents' 
owning a house that put me wise, and I struggled for years to own nothing 
that I can't pack in a suitcase. Never really got it down to less than two 
cases. Which is a nuisance and really a stigma of poverty. Given adequate 
purchasing power one cd. own less. 

I suggest you try a little Frobenius. 

The Gaudier head was finally howked out of Violet's garden, the worse 
only for a few lawn-mower scratches. It adorns the hotel dining-room on 
the sea level, as the facchini didn't feel equal to hoisting it, and we weren't 
sure the structure of the terrace wd. hold it. 

Waaaal, regards to the lady. 

And this is all the time I can take oflF' Savin' Europe' fer the moment. 

I don't think Eliot can be blamed for 100% of Faber's actions. He is 
2A 369 


caught in the buggaring system of usury and that is that He complains 
that ' they' put him to cleaning latrines. — / — / 

307: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapalby 25 April 

Why dunt you never talk turkey ! 

I don't mind earning the rent, but whazz use of a letter all full of irrele- 
vance? If I interrupt the flow of soul, life of reason, luminous effulgence of 
internal meditation, stop playin tennis against Palmieri and, in general, 
lower the tone and the tenor of my life, I gotter he paid. 

Why don't you say: ' Will you do 10 quid worth of hack work? ' I mean 

if that's what you do mean. 1 take it all I gotter do is to talk 

about Britches, not necessarily read the ole petrifaction? So do be specific. 
Rabbit Britches indeed ! ! ! Whaaar he git the plagiarization of Babbitt aza 
name anyhow? And as it wd. stop my doing an article already begun on 
three blokes that aren't yet mortician's, I spose I cd. be allowed to make an 
occasional confronto between Britches' dulness and the serious unread- 
ability of a few blokes that would write if they could, but at any rate don't 
pretend, like the buzzardly [lacuna] . . . proposed title of the article: 
'Testicles versus Testament.' An embalsamation of the Late Robert's 
Britches. All the pseudo-rabbits: Rabbit Brooke, Rabbit Britches. Wotter 
hell. Your own hare or a wig, sir? ? ? 

I spose I can cite what I once said of Britches? I managed to dig about 
10 lines of Worse Libre out of one of his leetle bookies. Onct. And then 
there iz the side line of Hopkins. Couldn't you send and/or loan? In fact 
the pooplishers ought to donate a Hopkins and the Hopkins letters so az to 
treat Britches properly. Background for an article that wdn't be as dull, oh 
bloodily, as merely trying to yatter about wot he wrote. 

Something ought certainly to be done to prevent the sale of Oxford 
Press publications. Thaaar I am wiff yuh. 

308: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapallo, 26 April 

NO ! ! my dear Sathanas: On reflection I see that it wd. be whoredom, and 
not even en grande cocotte. 


I 93 <5 — aetat 50 

If the luminous reason of one's criticism iz that one shd. focus attention 
on what deserves it, a note by E.P. on Bridges wd. be a falsification of 

I thought (cogitation, the aimless flitter before arriving at meditatio) 
that the cadaver might be used to feed young pelicans, or to do honour to 
the obese but meritorious F. 

But more I fink ov it, the less honest does such a wangle appear. 

It is not a case where one can merely throw Richardly Aldingtonian 
dirt. I can't think Britsches has enough influence to be worth attacking. 
I mean one hasn't the excuse, as one has with nine-tenths of your Criterion 

writers, all Murrays, , bastards, Normans, Angells, etc., that 

the vipers ought to be killed. The number of putrid pigs in England is so 
large that to dig up a corpse for reburial, especially a corpse of the null, 
wd. be inexcusable unless one were absolootly in need of feed within the 

I did not instantly expect to find the evil one lurking under yr. weskit. 
But so was it. — / — / 

309: To Laurence Pollinger 

Rapallo, May 

To Rt. Rev. Pollinger: — / — / The fee is due to quality. The stinkingest 
fourth-rate painter wd. get six times that for work requiring a 25 th of the 
time and acumen. Don't you go running away with the idea poetry is sold 
by the acreage any more than painting. 

The sooner the pubing world gets the idea that the few good poets have 
a monopoly on First Rate work, the sooner the London sewage system 
will function and distressed areas become fewer. 

The whole of an anthology of that kind rides on the work of four or five 
authors. The rest is detrimental. Snipes could be made to pay to get into 
good company. Sharks catch suckers that way in far countries. 

The mistake of my life was in beginning in London as if publishers 
were any different from bucket shops. Arnold Bennett knew his eggs. 
Whatever his interest in good writing, he never showed the public any- 
thing but his avarice. Consequently they adored him. 

An utterly stinking social order does its damndest to extirpate the arts, 
and then howls for pity when an artist gets wise. 

There is not the faintest reason to build on the false criteria implied in 
the Roberts' anthology. 



310: To Katue Kitasono 

Rapallo ^ 24 May 

Dear Mr. Katue: Thank you for your friendly letter of April 26. 

You must not run away with the idea that I really know enough to read 
Japanese or that I can do more than spell out ideograms very slowly with a 

I had all Fenollosa's notes and the results of what he had learned from 
Umewaka Minoro, Dr. Mori, Dr. Ariga. But since Tami Koume was killed 
in that earthquake I have had no one to explain the obscure passages or fill 
up the enornous gaps of my ignorance. Had Tami lived I might have come 
to Tokio. It is one thing to live on the sea-coast and another to have 
traveling expenses. 

Your magazine will, I suppose, arrive in due time. Printed matter takes 
longer than letters. 

Your technologists can perhaps follow what people suppose, wrongly, 
to be no fit subject for a poet (despite Dante, Shakespear, and various 
other excellent writers who have understood why a poet can not neglect 
ethics, and why an ethic which is afraid of analyzing the motives of actions 
is very poor sham). — / — / 

311: To Tibor Serly 

Venice y (September) 

Dear TTT-borrrRRR: Yer damn right, them New Hungs can play the 
fourtett. I like Palotai vurry much. He can't say much and we have only 
my limping German. I wd. damn well like to have 'em in Rapallo. In fact 
am determined to go on with the Rapal. concerts, despite fact that I have 
no assets save what I can earn. And haven't yet sold the stuff I proposed to 
shove into 'em. 

Pal. sez they wd. be passing thru Italy in Feb. You spose they wd. come 
for 500 lire and a night's lodging? I can't tell 'em the Gertlers did and 
would again. I don't honestly know which 4tet is the better. Palotai a 
better cello than Gertler has, I think. Eh bo? Both of the quarts played 
here last week. Hung, in Ferroud and Bartok Vth. Gertler in Honegger 
and Berg. 


1936— aetat 51 

And say bo ! ! can yr. li'l friend Hindemith play the Vl-olahhh? ! I'll say 
he can play die viola. 

Yunnerstand I can't even offer the 500 lire yet. All I can do is to ask you 
to write Pal in Magyr and ask if they wd. be insulted by the suggestion. 
I told him I wd. like to have 'em. The date wd. be at their convenience. 

What I am doing now is to put together a project on which I might by a 
miracle raise the minimum necessary cash. 

Onforchoonate incident. The Hungs wanted to eat at midnight. I have 
known Venice 30 years but never tried to eat a dinner at midnight, I know 
that all the good cheap restaurants, the family cookings, etc., close at about 
9.55. Am afraid I got 'em stuck with some bad grub, but it was the only 
place I cd. count on being open. Not having any common langwidge, will 
you tender my tough apologies and hope they fergiv and ferget. The violer 
player yenned toward another place, where I thought they wd. git stuck a 
price. Mebbe they wdn't have been stuck but it is a place on the Piazza 
where I thought it wuz dangerous for working men like ourselves to risk a 

312: To Eric Mesterton 

Rapalloy December 

Dear Mr. Mesterton: I write to you as the only responsible Scandinavian 
of my acquaintance, in confidence and not for publication over my 

The S. Acad, ought by now to get round to seeing that Douglas and 
Orage worked for peace, whereas dozens of soupeaters merely yodel about 
it in hope of ha'pence. 

As to the literary reward ! ! In fact several of 'em. Tastes differ. Merely 
derivative writers with active wives or popular success are not idealist in 
the profound sense of the endowment. Or may be that adjective was used 
in ref to peculiarly Scandinavian terminology of Nobel's epoch. Doubt- 
less the average of recipients has been high, but some of the greatest and 
most honest craftsmen, the most persistent battlers for truth have been 

The carving a thesis in eternal beauty or in lasting verity ! ! ! 

Hardy, Henry James among the missing. 

Sine Lewis certainly less idealist than the author of The Portrait of the 
Artist and Chamber Music y and not in same category as author of Ulysses. 



O'Neill a post-Shavian derivative. Why not Green Pastures while they 
were about it? 

Of course the American so-called Academy is a blot on God's sunlight. 
I don't suppose O'Neill was recommended by them any more than Sine. 
Lewis. But the existence of a mass of infamy like Butler invalidates U.S. 
official recommendations. 

I write this in confidence, not to be used with my name, as I imagine any 
foreign interest or interference wd. breed resentment and opposition. Per- 
haps one shd. keep hands off; on the other hand, the sheer material force 
of the Nobel Award could be of such great use intellectually and morally 
if applied where it wd. stimulate greater and more incisive search into 
truth. Surely that also is a permissable form of Idealism. Shaw himself a 
mere louse in comparison with Hardy, Joyce or H. James. And Lewis and 
O'Neill less than G.B.S. Have always thought poor old Upward shot him- 
self in discouragement on reading of award to Shaw. Feeling of utter hope- 
lessness in struggle for values. 

I suppose Gourmont never had a look in. 

But you can not set O'Neill against Cocteau's Antigone. Not commen- 
surable. Someone ought to get these ideas or this sense of values into the 
Swedish language. It ought not to come as from a foreigner. Though no 
harm in citing it as a kind of opinion which foreigner might hold. Indeed 
it might even be as implied from published criticism. 

313: To Gerhart Muench 

Rapallo, December 

Dear Gerhart: Do you know Hindemith well enough to be able to find out 
what is the minimum he wd. take to give an all Hindemith program here 
with you (or with you and Olga, if there is a trio) ? 

I hear he is coming for the Florentine Maggio musicale so he wd. be 
passing near here. 

I told you he had been invited to organize all the music in Turkey for 

Reports from Germany now hot, now cold. One, that the Ministerium 
likes him; 2) that his wife is a Jewess; 3) that he was-is-was-isn't, etc. 
banned and his name ordered kept out of press, etc. 

I think the New Hungarian Quartet is fixed to come. As I wrote they 
and Hindemith highlight in Venice Biennale, with the Gertlers whom we 
had here two years ago. That item in case he wd. feel he was (not) in good 
company apart from you. 


1936 — aetat 51 

314: To Agnes Bedford 

Rapalloy December 

It is the next Music and Letters that I am in. I think it is called Jan. issue. 
And the estimable editor regrets my deleting a line wherein I referred to 
Giordanno as a garbage can. (Age, m'deah; age, I am getting mild and 
tender — I delete.) . . . 

Music and Letters (Mr. Blom) appears to be too intelligent and 'right' 
(from my pt. of view) to last. 

What of other music pubctns? I am rather ready to write and have a go 
at building up reception of the Villon. Critical campaign for intelligence — 
rights of the word etc. Aiming at really putting over the Villon and 
Cavalcanti. But also to bring in vogue of Young, Janequin (already under 
weigh) etc. 

And poke into the operatic blokes (XVI etc.) who meant well — (I am 
yet too dam iggurant to know what they really did). What is Rosing up 
to? Still too damn lazy to learn the words of anything? I don't mind how 
good 'his stage sets are — all helps and don't matter. . . . 

Read Cocteau (I spose you do anyhow); read some more if you haven't 
all of him. 

I don't know whom else. Simenon was superior Wallace, but is finished, 
I think. 

315: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo, 19 December 

Dear Swabey: Can you find out from the Bishop of Durham who it was 
who stopped the the Church enquiry into the nature of money monopoly, 
credit and economics? The Church Assembly made a first move; it dis- 
sociated work from employment. 

The Archbishop of York did not object. Or at any rate sent me a brief 
acknowledgement of my compliments rendered very informally on that 
occasion (postage due, I admit, as only a few Englishmen recognize that 
countries not under English domain require a different postal rate from the 
home countries), but still. . . . 



In the present crisis it matters somewhat whether that stoppage came 
from the friends and familiars of Messrs. Morgan, Norman, etc., or from 
the ecclesiastics who have some interest in religion. You as an intending 
parson have a right to know whether you will be expected to obey yr. 
bishop or something more centralized and mysterious. — / — / 



316: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapallo, January 

Eminent Udder, S.C.D., etc.: — / — / 

There onct wwga lady named Djuna 

Who wrote rather like a baboon. Her 
Blubbery prose had no fingers or toes; 
And we wish Whale had found this out sooner. 

This exaggerates as far to the one side as you blokes to the other. 
I except Ladies' Almanack, which wuz lively. Marianne is scarce an 
exuberance, rather protagonist for the rights of vitrification and petri- 

317: To H. L. Mencken 

Rapalb) 24 January 

My dearly beeluvved Hank: Wot you say is mostly so, but why try to 
bluff yr. venerable friend that you have read any serious work of mine for 
a decade?? 

Who the hell cares about Doug, schemes? The job of a serious writer is 
to dissociate the meaning of one word from that of some other which the 
pore boobs think means the same thing. 

Obviously until blokes can define the word 'money' and ten or a dozen 
more words occurring with equal frequency in econ. writing, their writ- 
ing will be tosh and their readers remain in same stew they were to start 

The act of dissociation can just as well, or better, take place re some- 
thing daily, and concrete as re something in a washed-out Impressionist 

What you go on doing is thumping an unreal effigy and callin* it 



318: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo , 27 January 

Dear Duncan: I am for it if and but. I am for it if you have really looked 
over the ground, tried to coalesce with such extant efforts as New English 
Weekly and Music and Letters (Eric Blom). To both of which this note 
can serve as personal introduction. 

I take it you are under 40 and that my experience as editor, as part of 
edt. boards, etc., can be useful, whether it is immediately applicable to yr. 
case or not. 

Naow lemme tell yuh ! ! A successful (intellectually) review is made by a 
small compact group of writers. Should be at least four. Have you got 
four? Three is a bit scanty. The Little Review had four. The Mercure de 
France had 30 more or less. The English Review, when it lived, had really 
three generations — stratified groups with 4 or six in each. But F.M.H.F. 
was unbusinesslike. 

Yunnerstan, my affairs are such that I must be paid something, even if it 
is only ten bob or two guineas. To write without being paid now (given 
my circs) is sheer self-indulgence on my part and avoidance of duty on my 

How many of the writers whom I read with respect and/or interest are 
you willing to include? (Most of 'em wd. also require from ten bob to 
2/2/-, though at least one wd., I believe, let you have stuff for nothing. 
Possibly two, though the 2nd should not.) Heaven knows there is work for 
a live monthly magazine. And also I wd. be willing to put a good deal of 
energy into the right one. — / — / 

319: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo, January 

Whoops ! And do I envy you. I do. That is the proper way fer a bloke ter 
know iz Greek. Here I am spendin 24 hours readin the De Vulgari Eloquio 
which is also badly needed in a sloppy and slobbering world. Man peram- 
bulates triplex, seekin: the useful (this he does in common with vege- 
tables), the delectable (in company with the animals) and the honestum 
(where he ain't got no company unless it's the blinkin hangels). 


1937 — aetat 51 

Obviously this is not Homer, but it is a comfort after an age of Wells 
and Jas Douglas. — / — / 

And yet again, I have never read half a page of the Odyssey without 

learning something about melodic invention. The more a man 

goes over a real writer the more he knows that no reader ever read any- 
thing the first time he saw it. 

320: To F. V. Morley 

Rapallo, February 

Waaal, Cetus be Grumpus: Annas fer your epistle. Do I gitt 

you? Faber's lament for not commissioning ABC of Reading, but wanting 
something more comprehensive. The monkey's tail, let us say? Wot Ez 
knows, all of it, fer 7 an sax pence. O'Kay by me. But the pro- 
viso that I can revise the damn thing from time to time as I get wiser. And 
that it don't need to be full of padding an sawdust. 

THE NEW LEARNING (Paideuma being too long a word for 
the public) 

Introd. on what Ez don't know. 
Part I. Method (digest of the Analects) 
Philosophy: history of same. Guide being Fr. Fiorentino. Plus a few 

scraps what he didn't know. 
Licherachoor: restatement of How to Read and ABC Reading. (Not 

repeat, save of one or two essential summaries.) 
Economic element in history and/or the conception of history in living 
historians who are alive, with retrospect to CI. Salmasius an a 
few wise guys. 
Mebbe sub-title 'How to Learn' would be useful. 
Mebbe it would sound safer to the Colleagues if one putt it: 

Philosophy (history of thought) 
History (hist, of action) 

Licherchoor and deh Awts, the flow-yer of civerlizashun. Contrasts 

between Hoccydent and orient. Racial elefunts necessary fer the 

whole of Kulchur. 

How much does Ez git fer eggsposin hiz iggurunce ? In the brasscovered 

manner? And when do you want the mannerskrip to git to deh printers?? 



An how you gwine ter keep deh Possum in his feedbox when I brings in 
deh Chinas and blackmen?? He won't laaak fer to see no Chinas and 
blackmen in a bukk about Kulchur. Dat being jess his lowdown Unitarian 
iggurunce. ... 

321: To Laurence Pollinger 

Rapallo, February 

My dear Larripol the Hipol: Fer Whale's own sake and fer the diggity of 
letters he should be made to pay up somfink on signing, but not to have 
that mean that he merely cunctates and putts off signing fer sax months. 
I don't type anudder woid till this is settled. Even if only 20 

At contract time the HippoVs eye 

Should never blink, nor nodding head be hv(n, 

But to Gug Faber's wiles reply: 

'By whales/ the price is rhpi' 

Waaal, if you ain't still got that de Schloezer, gorrknoze whaaarrr it iz 
got to. Mebbe it would be better by itself, not with my adjuncts. Mebbe 
the Whale is loaded up to his plimsoll mark anyhow. I should hate to 
think of him down below thaar, overbarnacled and crusted wiff pearl 
oysters so'z he'd snuffocate and die of not breathing. 

322: To F. V. Morley 

Rapallo, February 

Waaal, Whale my Cetus: As I was billyduxin, along come the Polehanger 
with a concrete, which I answers by this postum, but to save stylistic jem, 
I also send you the ' turn this the udder way hup.' 

And me already a-sailing into what the Greek flylozzerfers airit by com- 
parison with Kung-fucius. 

I suggest The New Learning as a be'r title than Guide to Kulchur. The 
public mightn't take the Guide idear seereeyus. However, if your public 
is rough you kin call it the Guide to Kulchur, so long as you don't call it the 

Waaal, now about printin' bits as we go along: I mostly don't care, and 

not likely that I could serialize very much of it. ... 


1937— aetat 51 

323: To Laurence Pollinger 

Rapallo, February 

Dear Pol: It reads like a mystery story to me. Anything Butch (Mont- 
gomery Butchart) does without upsetting you is O.K. with me. As to M. 
Beerbohm, Max never told me anyone had given him that kt. hd. I knew 
he got a doctorate from the wild Scots. 

I don't advise you to waste time on that question. Butch wrote me he 
could get a thousand quid on the proposition and I asked could he. 1 

I should like to know as it would be a fair measure of the god damned 
driweling idiocy of the swine of [lacuna] make a writer's life difficult. The 
French have a word of five letters and the Eng. one of four. 

It is not a book I should offer. I can conceive almost no circumstances 
under which I would write it. 

It is very difficult to be understood. 

Obviously if the sons of hell put up a million for copying the dictionary 
one might feel justified in doing it. But I should not feel justified in asking 
P., Pol. and H. to run round London trying to get a million on that pro- 
position. Do I make the nuance clear ? 

324: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo y 22 February 

Dear Swabe: Why tax money? Why just not issue i/8th? Hell ! ! the main 
purpose of money is to distribute goods, food, etc. A govt, must spend, on 
roads, police, etc. The tickets issued must not be for amount in excess of 
available wanted goods. Hence need of some cancellation mechanism. 
They mustn't simply multiply and accumulate. (Doug's is not very com- 
prehensible to the layman.) Gesell's is the simplest possible. Properly used 
it means no debts lasting beyond the productive powers of plant created by 
expenditure. (As in cases where money is borrowed by govts, to build things 
that perish, while creating unending taxes and indebtedness.) Etc. 

1 He could. An American publisher offered £5°°- English offers died with this 
letter. The proposition was The Life and Times of Max Beerbohm, by Ezra 

3 8i 


It don't so much matter what you call 2, thing so long as you know what 
you mean and can communicate that meaning. Phobia at the term tax can 
be excessive. 

I should like the Trollope pamph. on Palmerston if obtainable at 
reasonable price. 

325: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo, 10 March 

Dear R.D.: Motto? Duncan hath banished sleep. 

I think second number had better be the W. Lewis, not the Cummings. 
Cummings should take longer to prepare, and W.L. is 'more familiar to 
your readers.' The Landor-Lewis, Crabbe-Cummings merely alliterative 
couplings in first draft of idea. 

The Lewis gives you chance to examine London as at moment of your 
own birth. Say the unknown London 1909 to 1914 or '17. BLAST, Lewis 
in BLAST. 191 2, quarter of century back. Books already there; about 
1914, files of Egoist. Dubliners. Lewis' Tarr (original version), Portrait of 
Artist. These three are known. But the BLAST stuff is not. Lewis' posi- 
tion, etc. You, Auden and D. Thorn could all have a say re the constructive 
element or the pre-constructive destruction needed. 

Re Cummings, etc., and America: I think you better invite Jas. Laugh- 
lin to act as American edtr. or correspondent or whatever. Make it clear 
that you can not introduce all the writers in his Nude Erections. That you 
prefer to do a good job on the best of 'em. That Hiler and Cummings are 
all the English traffic will stand during first six months. That you want 
him to do the short article on Cummings' poetry. That anything else he 
does will have (for reasons of space — 32 pages official total, even if you at 
last moments run to more) — anything else from him will have to be 
limited to 200 word notices of events, i.e., books that mean. That he has 
200 words a month absolutely free of yr. editing and that you want a page 
(500 words or whatever yr. page holds) and don't imagine you will find it 
unusable. But that 200 words per subject is all that wildcat editing can get 
over on the suet-headed Brits. 

In the case of Cummings: I think you shd. do article on Eimi yourself. 
That someone should notice Cummings' play Him. Laughlin do the 
poems, esp. No Thanks. Auden on Cum. would also be interesting. Eng. 
view vs. J.L. And that D. Thorn, should do article on the whole Cum- 


I 937 — aet *t 51 

mings. Or alternate you and Thom. on Eimi. Thorn, do social significance 
olEimi and you the general survey of the lit. I want you to read the Eimi 
yourself, whoever tackles it. Cummings' position with large public is due 
to Enormous Room. Known in N.Y. for the play and the ballet on Unc. 
Tom's Cabin (Tom) and the E. Room. You can announce the Cummings 
number in the Lewis number. Or vice versa if you can get the Cummings 
ready for No. 2. But I always tend to run too far ahead of pub*^ 


Rapallo, 10 March 

Dear Heelair: At last a guy with some brains is startin a maggerzeen in 
Eng(of all places)land. As he had the sense to come down here from 
Marseilles for 12 hours in order to consult the high and final EZthority, 
you can see he knows eggs. 

Every three months is an art number. We think the first ought to be a 
Hiler (as most unknown in Lunnon), the second a L£ger based on the mass 
of L's work, which nobody realizes until they see at least that Teriade 
book, Cahiers d y ArtY \L. 1928. 

Young Dune (no relation of Isadora) will nacherly get over to Paris to 
get hep to what since. 

For the Heelair number you orter say a few words. (Short, everything 

First real mag since Little Review (if you except transition and Exile, 
which were each partial in one way or other). At any rate kid has got sense 
and is quick, not Brit. suet. 

For third art issue, I see nowt better than Ernst-Dali-Arp-Mird. But if 
you got ideas as to anything, tell us. I dare say a W. Lewis would be better 
if 'Lewis will show sense and collaborate. At any rate, that wd. precede the 
sur's, if etc. 

If you got any better line, tell papa. 

Dune, very amused at you n me being two rejects from The Little 
Review swan song in 1924. 

I think he has picked the few live wires in London and done it very well. 
Nacherly English ain't very lively but some is less dead than others. And 
the mag will be small, at least to start. No need of transition crap or 
Jheezus in progress. I am about thru with that diarrhoea of consciousness. 



Why ain't I called it that before and not in a private epistle? All I thought 
of when I last saw J.J. was: ' in regress.' 

I dunno who in Amurka except you and Cummings and young Laugh- 
lin?? (the latter as correspondent). Eng. traffic won't carry the whole of 
the prairies. 

Bill Wms. will be respected, and if Mule really gets printed, them 
young lads can shout. At least they will read Am. Grain. They at least 
know that sur-r ain't news. That it was already made in 1923, etc., which 
their concurrents do not know. In fact, I think it's a good bed. 

Can you send that catalog of yours and some unpublished photos of 
later work (as many as poss., saying which could be reduced if neces- 

327: To Katue Kitasono 

Rapallo, 1 1 March 

Dear Katue Kitasono: All right! Kitasono is your family name. We occi- 
dentals are very ignorant. You must tell us, patiently, even these details. 

The poems are splendid, and the first clear lighting for me of what is 
going on in Japan. The new Japan. Surrealism without the half-baked 
ignorance of the French young. — / — / 

Dear Mr. Katue: The most galling part of my ignorance at the moment is 
that I haven't the original text of the Odes. Pauthier was a magnificent 
scholar, and I have his French to guide me in Kung: Ta Hio, the Standing 
Fast in the Middle, and the Analects. I have also an excellent English crib 
with notes for these works. But the English version of the Odes is intoler- 
able and an old Latin one unsatisfactory. 

Can you find me a cheap edition? I say cheap; I mean good and clear, 
but not fancy. If it has a translation into some European language that 
would help and one would need to use the dictionary only for the interest- 
ing words. 

Tami Koum6 had a satisfactory edtn. of the Noli plays. The kana I can- 
not use. But I do recognize more ideograms than I did. 
Impossible to write ideogram with a Waterman pen. I am doing a little 

essay, starting my next book with a note on A 

the first very clear, the latter interesting in 
its context. 

f - its. 


I 937 — aetat 51 

Translations of the Odes are so bare one thinks the translator must have 
missed something and very annoying not to be able to see what. 

With Sordello the fusion of word, sound, movement is so simple one 
only understands his superiority to other troubadours after having studied 
Provengal and half-forgotten it, and come back to twenty years later. 

When I did Cathay, I had no inkling of the technique of sound, which I 
am now convinced must exist or have existed in Chinese poetry. 

Does VOU include a critique of Japanese past poetry as a whole? A 
position from which you look at Chinese poetry, Japanese poetry gradu- 
ally freeing itself from (? or continuing) Chinese, as we continually sprout 
from or try to cut away from, or reabsorb, resynthesize, Greek, Latin? 

There are here too many questions. 

328: To John Lackay Brown 

Rapalby April 

Dear Mr. Brown: Fair questions. When I get to end, pattern ought to be 
discoverable. Stage set k la Dante is not modern truth. It may be O.K. but 
not as modern man's. 

I certainly do not deny individual responsibility. I do deny the right of 

any man to shut his mind and accept the unmitigated of the 

present econ. system, artificially maintained by the most god damned 
and liars. 

I don't expect, in the end, to have introduced ethical novelties or 
notions, though I hope to light up a few antient bases. 

The Protestant world has lost the sense of mental and spiritual rotten- 
ness. Dante has it: 'gran sacco che fa merda.' The real theologians knew it. 

Part of the job is finally to get all the necessary notes into the text itself. 
Not only are the LI Cantos a part of the poem, but by labeling most of 'em 
draft, I retain right to include necessary explanations in LI-C or in revision. 

Binyon has shown that Dante needs fewer notes than are usually given 
the student. 

You are very right that Blackmur et sim. do not, etc. If Yeats knew a 
fugue from a frog, he might have transmitted what I told him in some way 
that would have helped rather than obfuscated his readers. Mah ! ! ! 

Re your p. 2: that section of hell precisely has not any dignity. Neither 
had Dante's fahrting devils. Hell is not amusing. Not a joke. And when 
you get further along you find individuals, not abstracts. Even the XIV- 
XV has individuals in it, but not worth recording as such. In fact, Bill Bird 

2B 385 


rather entertained that I had forgotten which rotters were there* In his 

edtn. he tried to get the number of correct in each case. My 'point* 

being that not even the first but only last letters of their names had resisted 

Person looking for gibberish is welcome to find it. A Wimmin maun ha 
her will. 

42-5 1 are in page proof. Should be out any day. I believe they are clearer 
than the preceding ones. 

Doing a note on Hardy (Hardy's Collected Poems) for my next prose 
outbreak. Now there is a clarity. There is the harvest of having written 20 
novels first. 

Take a fugue: theme, response, contrasujet. Not that I mean to make an 
exact analogy of structure. 

Vide, incidentally, Zukofsky's experiment, possibly suggested by my 
having stated the Cantos are in a way fugal. There is at start, descent to the 
shades, metamorphoses, parallel (Vidal-Actaeon). All of which is mere 
matter for little Blackmurs and Harvud instructors unless I pull it off as 
reading matter, singing matter, shouting matter, the tale of the tribe. 

If you have Polite Essays, you will see note to effect that economics 
always has been in the best large poetry. Bank money wasn't so vital to 

329: To F. V. Morley 

Rapallo , 9 May 

Waaal Whale: I dun finished reading my bukk, and there is a few phrases 

which mebbe iz libellus. I hereby give permish to omit the 

names of bloody lice like r or n, when they occur in indiscrete circs. 


Nacherly I talk about interesting subjects fer 360 pages out of the 370 
(my loose typescript), but kulchur occurs in or above the stinking manure 
heap, and can not be honestly defined without recognition of the dung- 
heap. Don't let this worry you into thinking I spend much type space 
mentioning lice. But Harry Stotl, he mentions POLITIKE, etc. 

Of course I talks erbaht deh Buck Hare and other diversions. Can't 
spend me hole time on Any. 

I got some reflexshuns on deh Possum, co's of co'se he's kulchurd az " 
hell. O long about his ducksun to Sam Johnson's Vanity. Waaal, naow I 
axs you is Sam Vanitied ? ? 


1937— aetat 51 

An I hope you won't fink I overdid Aristotle, cause I got to do somfin 
so't of thorough, fer to kork up deh end (deh TELOS or termination). 
Can't just go butterflying round all deh time. 

I hope you all wasn't xpektin a Wbook. 

330: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo, May 

Dear Doc Rouse: Sorry; but England never wanted to see her face in a 
mirror other than a pink one of her own making. Foreign opinion of your 
country is not and never will be English opinion, and a great many Eng. 
characteristics neither attract Latins nor the stock that left Eng. in the 

Even so dispassionate an observer as Miss M. Moore writes: 'I dislike 
Eden and Baldwin as much as if I knew them personally.' I know the great 
Eng. pubk. loves smugness and the great passion of the majority is for a 
boot, any damn boot, to lick. It comes out even in visions. Well, pass that. 
It is a wasted prelude. And we get no further. After 12 years in London I 
wrote a couple of cantos. 

And I get letters from various Englishmen who do not agree with your 
views. I personally doubt your objectivity. You have too many decent 
instincts to register certain kinds of filth. I wdn't in normal course set you 
to catch the considerably more than thief and considerably less than human 
who infests part of yr. island. 

Also you can not sell me Pindar, and you can't sell me a dialect that 
never was spoken and never will be. The classicists have fouled their own 
bed. Once the classics could be studied in certain extent. But to try to take 
up room in a full life that is needed for Chinese and for Frobenius 
researches, is no go. 

A man can read a thousand or 5000 or whatever books, but to suppose 
that they will be the same 1000 or 5000 after new treasure is available than 
there were in 1 500 is to relapse into habit. 

I will back you and Homer in any international Olympiad, but I won't 
be loaded up with Mr. Pindar. 

And I never heard any nurse or farmer say ' for by thee on the sea swift 
ships are steered' or use any such constructions in daily talk. That is die 
choctaw that has driven Greek out of the schools. 

There is too much unexplored Chinese, and what one gets out of it is 
too interesting to leave one time for this rhetoric 



When you get my Guide to Kulchur, you will probably curse me with 
the black currse of the OTooles. 

Anyhow, lasting gratitude for Golding. 

I hope my lambasting of Arrystotle will arouse a little real interest as 
distinct from the bureaucratic exploitation. 

I don't see what I could do of use to the Loeb Library unless I do a 
review (i.e., 70,000 words or thereabouts) on the whole of it. And heaven 
knows I am not going to buy it. I can of course do potty little notes on 
new volumes, but that means contenting some damn muggyzeen editor 
and arguing over each vol. and getting it away from the usual hack 
reviewers. I could do the Loeb as (but more fully and 20 years more 
maturely than) I did Henry James' collected edtn. I don't mind having 
tne stuff on loan //transport is paid nin and zuruck. But a real volume that 
would sell the library or part of it to a larger public, would imply cutting 
pages of the recommended authors. At least possibly so. And the lenders 
might object. On the other hand that could be obviated. I could indicate 
excerpts by page and line. However you better suspend judgment till, 
when, or if Faber do the Guide. 

What I should do would be a long essay, criticism of Greek and Latin 
cultural heritage confronted by post-Renaissance knowledge of subjects not 
familiar to Pico della Mirandola. The Classics, not vs. 'the moderns' as in 
1 8th Cent, shindy, etc., but their place in a plenum containing XlXth 
Century Europe, the Orient, prehistoric art, Africa, etc. In short, in a full 
culture, with cinema and modern mechanics. Not merely overawed by 
high-sounding reputations nor squashed by disbelief in the 

No, I will not help you reinflate Pindar. I left a beeyewtiful folio, Greek 
and Latin, of P. in London. Call me bdy. barbarian. I do not believe Pindar 
was the 67th part of Homer. All right as dilletantism for a bloke that knows 
Homer backwards by heart. . . . But I would rather you spent the next 
decade revising your Odyssey and your Iliad. 

331: To Michael Roberts 


Dear R: What I am trying to get into yr. head is the proportion of ole 
T.E.H. to London 1908 to 1910, '12, '14. 

Hulme wasn't hated and loathed by the ole bastards, because they 
didn't know he was there. The man who did the work for English writing 


1937— aetat 51 

was Ford Madox Hueffer (now Ford). The old crusted lice and advocates 
of corpse language knew that The English Review existed. You ought for 
sake of perspective to read through the whole of The Eng. Rev. files for 
the first two years. I mean for as long as Ford had it. Until you have done 
that, you will be prey to superstition. You won't know what was, and you 
will consider that Hulme or any of the chaps of my generation invented 
the moon and preceded Galileo's use of the telescope. 

Don't think that I read The Eng. Rev. then. I did not lie down with the 
Wells or read Tono Bungay. Nothing to be proud of, but so was it. I was 
learning how Yeats did it. I believe that T.E.H. (if you dig up ms. you can 
verify) referred to 'the pavement grey' (or 'gray'; don't remember his 
spelling). He had read Upward's new work. I didn't till I knew Upward. 
And I suppose I am sole reader of all Upward's books, now surviving. I 
spose there is a set in Brit. Mus., and it might be possible for you to borrow 
my set, if you are in London. 

I believe Hulme made Mrs. K(ibblewhite) and Flint do a good deal of 
the sweating over the actual translations of Bergson and Sorel, having got 
his slice on the options. I remember Flint glumpily talking about Hulme 
as a 'dangerous' (? man, which) I take to mean that he had colluded 
Frankie into doing something useful. To T.E.H. at least. 

Frankie is another study. You ought also to remember who were still 
alive in those years, and on whom young eyes were bent. The respectable 
and the middle generation, illustrious punks and messers, fakes like Shaw, 
stew like Wells, nickle cash-register Bennett. All degrading the values. 
Chesterton meaning also slosh at least then and to me. Belloc pathetic in 
that he had meant to do the fine thing and been jockeyed into serving, at 

least to some extent, a order of a pewked society. But not, as I 

felt, liking the owners of the pile. 

Of course for those years London was Strand Magazine romance to 
young foreigner. Dare say Mike Arlen Kiljumji was the last rrromantic in 
Alladin's cave. 

332: To Katue Kitasono 

Rapalloy 23 October 

Dear K. Kit: Your very beautiful book has just come, and I have started 
trying to read it, though some of the type forms are not as in Morri- 



The poems look as if you were going in for some extreme form of sim- 
plification, at greatest possible remove from Chinese elaboration. Not that 
I have been able to read even a single sentence at sight. 

I take it no one has tried to make poems containing quite so many 
simple radicals. But my ignorance is appalling and my memory beneath 

333: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapallo ^ 30 October 

Dear Dr. Rouse: Hupward an' honward ! I am very glad my language was 
violent, and nothing is lost. You spend a lifetime and establish one dimen- 
sion of the Odyssey which d — n well needed to be estbd. My friend F. 
spends 60 years listening to the sound of different-sized English sentences. 
Binyon takes 70 years to get cured of Milton. All of you get your rewards; 
and each his own, not the other fellow's. And at any rate I don't keep one 
opinion for you to your face and another for use among writers who don't 
like y etc., etc. The hardest job for the critic is to know when a writer is ex- 
hausted by an effort and how long it takes him to get back elasticity 
enough to revise a given job. F. M. Ford wasted 40 novels, as I see it, 
excellent parts merely buried in writing done at his second best. And so 

What is Curzon's Oriental Series, and isn't it the place to get a few 
results for the essential Chinese classics?? I have just finished a longish 
essay on Mencius. I am not setting up as an authority on Chinese, but it 
might save a decade or so to know of a series that could use results when 
attained. I shall have to go East some time. The new photo processes make 
it possible to reprint the Legge at a human price. Study certainly held up 
when the first books a man wants cost 20 quid. Thank heaven I have what 
is probably a Shanghai'd (pirated) edtn. of Kung and Mantse, and have 
managed to get the Odes from Tokio (a very bright lad there who runs a 
better literary magazine than the Occident is now providing or at least 
wider awake). 

Is there an available prospectus or catalogue of Curzon series? What 
does it aim at? Certainly the Legge inter-page version of Kung, etc., ought 
to be available at a possible price; the Curzon could go on from there. I 
should think the Legge a monument, and real aid to comprehension cd. be 
furthered rather by warning the student what it is and what it is not than 


1937— aetat 51 

.by trying to do new edition in English in a hurry. The only way to learn 
Chinese is interlinear or inter-page. Awful waste of time hunting charac- 
ters in dictionary. 

The Oxford Univ. Press ought to be fried in oil and Milford and his 
filthy gang stuffed down the jakes. Of all the farces, of all the misapplica- 
tion of name, etc., that is the damndest fake in England. The Soothill 
Analects is just Legge with a little face cream smeared over it. No new 
donation, no new digging into the original at all. Just Soothill's ideas re 
slightly more re-feened langwidge than Legge. 

The Loeb is a serious publication. 

Law of diminishing returns ought to be restated or set against a law of 
increasing returns in study. There is more kick in ideogram for us, and for 
the next century of the Occident than in any other study. Or if that is a 
silly way of saying it, say than in any other study until you get down down 
down to bedrock — where almost no one ever does get. 

The best thing I got out of the Loeb was the fact that between the 
Nicomachean and the Magna Moralia (ought to be called the longer not 
greater) the damn Greek lecturers had just slid over Aristotle's teXne in 
the list of components of kinds of intelligence. That was the beginning of 
the end. I doubt if anything but injection of Chinese studies can cure the 
results of that desiccated highbrowness. 

P.S. I don't doubt the Curzon committee will be hypnotized by the 
superstition that all books in a series must be in uniform format, and that 
the inclusion of a photostat reprint of Legge wd. be the sin against the 
Holy Ghost. But even this form of superstition is subject to comment. 

334: To W. H. D. Rouse 

Rapalloy 4 November 

Benedictions: No, I am not cursing you fer not makin your kings talk like 
gangsters. — /—/ 

Where the translation can be improved is in dimension of inflection of 
the voice. Possibly no change of vocabulary required, but the greater 
variety of intonation and of sentence movement. The indication of tone of 
voice and varying speeds of utterance. In that, Homer is never excelled by 
Flaubert or James or any of 'em. But it needs the technique of one or more 
life times. 

I dare say (in private) that the use of slang is merely a sign of imperfect 



technique. The slanger wants to get the real sound of speech as spoken, 
and can only get near it by using the expression of the moment. Limited, 
this view, by fact that the god damn iggurunt often think they are using 
vulgah and slangy eggspreshuns when they are using words right out er 
Bill Shxpr, such as 'boosing' or 'bowsing/ etc. Look at Pericles: 

Faithy she would serve, (pause) 

after a long voyage at sea. 

The cadence is so well-taken that even the archaism in the first word 
doesn't dim the naturalness of the sentence. 
i. words 

2. sentences and movements of same 

two parts of writin'. 

I come back to Ulysses the toff, liftin his imaginary highhat as he comes 
out of the underbrush. 

My forebear is 78 or 79. Hard to get him to read the story again so soon 
after he has read it. Or at any rate, I haven't yet got any new comment 
from him. 

Yaaas, Curzon: stuffed (if ever was one) shirt would putt his prot£g& 
onto them damn Hindoos and omit the more valuable languages. 

Isn't it time you wrote some memoirs? Old Legge bristling with Pro- 
testant prejudice?? [lacuna] notes accompany my texts of Kung and Mang 
Tse. But vurry good learner. Ohyes. 

Your impressions of these blokes probably more interesting than Sans- 
krit curleycues. After all you have lived thru one of the stinkingest periods 
of world history on into a dawn of sorts. I feel sure Butchart wd. welcome 
some reminiscences. If you putt 'em in current language. No man escapes a 
'bosse professionel' (or however the frawgs spell it). Greeks, I believe, 
had the decency to spell as it sounded to 'em, even if on two sides of the 
same street. Bloke said to me yesterday: nine separate dialects in Genova. 
Not a highbrow bloke, but an ex-marine, as we were coming from 
tennis. — / — / 

335: To Gerald Hayes 

Rapallo, 30 November 

Dear G.H.: I am aiming my muzikfest for the first week in Feb. Hoping to 
give rather more of Whittaker's 12 new Purcells than W. seems to think 
advisable all in a lump. 


x 937 — aetat 52 

Now about Jenkins: I think I asked you once before, just as you were in 
confusion of moving house. I hope to have three trusty fiddles, Munch at 
piano, a cello, and at a pinch the members of an untried but recommended 
quartet. Is there anything of Jenkins (or enough for a whole evening) that 
could be played as it stands?? Say I have it photo'd white on black 3-1/2 
by 4-1/4 inches — would that be legible? O.R. could then copy out the 
parts. Preferably not more than three fiddles, keyboard and cello. Pro- 
bably no keyboard in original. Do any Dolmetschers want to dechifrer the 
basses (if so it be) or rejuice something for disponible instruments? 1 know 
nowt of Jenk, save what you have told me. Munch should provide the new 
Vivaldi, and stick to that job. 

Heaven knows there is enough. And with the Purcell, we shall have 
representation proportional to Englyshe, but may as well interjuice Mr. 
Jenkins if it is possible. 

As I haven't yet a projector, the small but not millimetric photos would 
save time. I don't mind spending a bit if it is to effective and immediate 

Can you tell me who publishes Dowland? Or have 'em send catalog if 
anything possible for 3 fiddles and/or edited to fiddle and keyboard. 

P.S. I seem to remember 3 vols of Lawes' songs. Thought it was 
modern edtn., but may have been in Brit. Mus. Songs, not instrumental 
stuff. Have never seen any instrumental Lawes. 

336: To Montgomery Butchart 

Rapallo y 1 1 December 

Dear Butch: — / — / And now to both of you, disobedient (which don't 
matter) but naif (which may matter). 

All successful magazines are sold below cost. At any rate at the start, 
and later if they succeed (sez Pat the oirushman). Town and Country ten- 
pence to produce (this was years ago), yearly profit 20 thousand quid. 

You are competing with Night and Day and other mags at 6 pence. The 
way to exist and put yourselves over is to calculate how much you can 
afford to lose for one year, or two years, or yearly; and try to cut down 
that loss slowly. You can not sell at 2/6. The blurb was not sales talk. The 
mag isn't here yet, so this crit. is preliminary. 

If it cost you 1/6 per copy (for how /wa/iy?????) to produce, you lose 50 
shillings on every hundred copies sold direct; plus postage, plus 32 shil- 



lings i/you sell at 8 pence to the bookshops. If you can sell 200 copies and 
distribute 100 as publicity, you are on the map. If you can sell 400, you are 
flourishing, at the cost of: 

1 50 shillings for free copies 
200 to 300, say 300, for copies sold. 
If you had sent me estimates, clearly, I might have been in posit to see how 
to save some of this. Damn it, BLAST, its enormous mass, sold at 2/6. 
20 quid is a small ante for a new group of writers. A small real loss better 
than a large one with a carrot of hypothetical profit before nose if, etc. 
Which is not. 

Anyhow, loss for first year inevitable. Depends what you can afford to 
lose, how much per number. . . . 

. . . with which kind woidz I await the arrival of Tnsmn. 

Damn it, when the thing has a name, you can put up the price of back 
numbers. We didn't put up price of Little Review, but if il had been neces- 
sary, we could have done so. 

Reid has arrived here. 

What else? 

I have no drag with Gotham Bk. Mart. Laughlin wrote quite clearly 
that your proposal to him was idiotic, that he cd. not sell Tns at a dollar. 
The 'Book Mart* has infinitely less optimism and never bought any books 
from me. Wanted 'em on sale or ret. 

Miller has considerable talent. Ultimately bores me, as did D. H. 
Lawrence. But that is private. In fact, I oughtn't to be dragged into giving 
opinion even to you and request you to keep it under your hats. I am not 
the general reader; and Miller is too good for them. I mean more than they 
deserve; and I wish him luck. Certainly comes just after the real writers of 
whom there are (numeral left blank). 

Celine don't interest me at all, but what of it? Who does? — / — / 

337: To Montgomery Butchart and Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo, indepisl, 11 December 

Dear B n D: Waaal wunners will nevuH cease. Mebbe I wuz wrong; at any 
rate, glad I got it off my chest this A.M. cause mebbe I would have hesi- 

But it can't sell for more than 75 cents in the Eu. S. Ah. 

I congratulate you on the format, Mebbe you have pulled it off. Banzai. 


1937— aetat 52 
Eljen. Very clever the wire top and Cummings' end-on page. We shall see. 
Mebbe my morning note was just senile doubt. 

The Johnstone looks active. At any rate useful. Of course, it is Ernst 
and Arp, unless the colour is something else. Mah ! ! ! Looks 1938 anyhow; 
or at least 10 years nearer 1938 than anything else in Eng. — / — / 

I suspect Bob McAlmon is still yr. best bet for short stories. At any rate, 
try to connect him. Possibly via W. C. Williams. Unless you got a better 
line of communique. 

That stiff cover and end-on paper, a great light. Cover good. Denys 
Thompson probably useful as medium of contact with outer world. None 
of the rest touch it. 

Ask Eliot for a brief and a/iprintable poem. Or ask me officially to ask 

Suggest review of Wyndham L's Doom of Youth in No. 2, with inquiry 
into cause of its withdrawal, if it was withdrawn. — / — / 

I have read Dune's Scene I. Thass O.K. 

Mont O'Reily's promised ms. not here yet. He wrote he would prefer it 
to the old one I have (M. O'R, pussydonym fer W. Andrews). 

Anvbody can be asked, on evidence of first issue. Zukofsky and Bunting 
can't diminish the appeal. 

I was praps trying to be tacktful and leave a chance for public adhesion- 
isiveness. . . . Waal, goobye to awl that. 

As noble extinction faces us, may as well have all the living on the con- 
tents list. Includin ole Bull Wlms if he can do a ringer. But not to be repd. 
by an inferior half-hour. 

Young England: serious characters comprise the venerable Butch 
(almost disqualified as over age limit), one other kenuk, the black Scot, 
and Mr. Swabey. Can he write a brief essay or whatever for No. 2? Any- 
how, there is about awl ole pop's ideas or as Butch asks: 'criticize in anny 

Cocteau should be honoured; so shd. any frog or Parisite. To be asked 

It is good enough to sell when it has become a rarity, and impurities are 
not there to rot it. I guess yew boyes have pulled one. 



338: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapallo , 14 December 

Waaal my able an sable ole Crepuscule: It tain't often I has the chanct ter 
invite yer, but there izza bloke, as they say here, 'in gamba,' and he wanssa 
rouse all the mudfrawgz of the Camasco an he sez: Will the Possum rite a 
piece way ing just and plain wot he fink a styge (notta stooge) playe orter be. 
He pays somfink, not much ace. Threadneedle standards, but you cd. 
sell the piece later in the orryginal wiff the kudos of its havin been re- 
quested an published nearer the centres of European culture. Dew yew 
git me? It needn't be long, as I know you're lazy. But also it needn't be in 
that keerful Criterese which so successfully protekks you in the stinking 
and foggy climik agin the bare-boreians. Dew yew git meh?? I spose the 
answer is: lanwidg of Agon sustained thru a lively and brefftakink axshun 
to a Tomthunderink KlimuXX. However, you can say wot you like (not 
in epistolary, cause they cdn't translate that wiffaht losink somfink, but in 
Queen Eliz's and the Pos's English). 



339 : To Carlo Izzo 

Rapallo y % January 

Absolutely my first free moment. 

i. 'With Usura the line grows thick* — means the line in painting and 
design. Quattrocento painters still in morally clean era when usury and 
buggary were on a par. As the moral sense becomes as incapable of moral 

distinction as the p of y or ...t n or n, painting gets 

bitched. I can tell the bank-rate and component of tolerance for usury in 
any epoch by the quality of line in painting. Baroque, etc., era of usury 
becoming tolerated. 

2. 'Praedis': I don't care how you spell your wop painters, and I don't 
know whether A.P. was from Predi, Predo or Predis. Never been to his 
home town. 

3. St. Trophime, in Aries, civilization entered that district before L. 
Blum and Co. got control. Better keep frog spelling, there ain't no church 
of S. Trofime. 

4. 'Eleusis' is very elliptical. It means that in place of the sacramental 

h — i n t he Mysteries, you 'ave the 4 and six-penny 'ore. As you 

see, the moral bearing is very high, and the degradation of the sacrament 
(which is the coition and not the going to a fatbuttocked priest or registry 
office) has been completely debased largely by Xtianity, or misunderstand- 
ing of that Ersatz religion. 

'Ad' is certainly better than 'per,' but neither translates the 'for' which 
means 'invece di,' 'per le rite Eleusiniane,' 'dalle rite.' Hellup ! ! English is 
halfway between inflected languages and Chinese. 

I am not sure that 'Tollerando usura' doesn't sound better and give the 
force better than 'con.' 'With' in English derives from Ang-Saxon and 
has oppositive aroma. As in 'withstand' meaning 'stand against.' I don't 
mean that it means 'against,' but 'Tollerando' has a sonorous body that 
helps the line. 

'Behest' (last line) very strong imperative; probably not indicated in 
dictionary. But I think stronger than 'cenni.' 

All of which gives you more trouble. Ma ch£. . 



You could leave the 'con usura' in various places, but I think 'toller- 
ando' better in opening line and in line 2 for the repeat. Also the choice 
between the two (' con' and ' tol.') gives you more freedom. 

'Mountain wheat': they say here 'di montagna' not 'monte,' which is 
also associated with hockshop. 

'Demarcation' is intellectual. It is also boundary of field if you like, but 

demarcation is universal. The bastid Cromwell and Anglican 

bishops and bankers obscure every hierarchy of values. 

'Tagliapietra' (?? not man who breaks stone, but the artifact). 

A. de Predi is O.K., if that is where he came from. I wonder if he was da 

??? 'Pietra viva*}} Whazzat mean? San Zeno architect also cut a lot of 
the stone pillars himself and signed one pair (group with knots of stone). 

'Fu San Trophime' would keep your rhythm. I think in Italian you 
need 'la Chiesa' both for churches in Aries and St. Hilaire, or Poitiers. 
Otherwise it could mean the blokes themselves and not the ecclesiastical 

'Weave gold in her pattern': in Rapallo Middle Ages, industry of 
weaving actual gold thread into cloth. 

'Nessuna apprende pifc l'arte di telerare con filo d'oro.' Damn wop 
language has only one word for thread and wire???? 

' Grembo ' ? ? How refined ! ' Ventre ' ? ? 

What is 'ceppi'?? 'Brought palsy to bed.' I.e., palsied old man. Shake- 
spear's language is so resilient. 

Next line I think you have done well. 

'Hanno condotto donne da conio ad Eleusi' seems to me to get the 
drive. That does give the sense of profanation. 

* In convivio ' better than ' messa ' ? ? ? ? 

I don't like plural in ' cenni.' — / — / ' 

340: To Otto Bird 

Rapallo, 9 January 

Dr. Ot. B.: Bout 3 days ago I luk thru me foto col. I sez; 

* Blast ole Gilson, five years and nowt done.* Only rush of work saved me 
the postal charge of writing him to say ' Wotter 'ell ! ! Send 'em back if you 
can't get action.' Write me as fully as you like. I think I have printed most 
of what I know about Dino. 


1938— aetat 52 

Have you the Cicciaporci edition of Guido? Firenze, Nicol6 Carli, 
1813. That has a good printed Italian version of the Garbo commentary, 
which of course your thesis can not ignore. Will serve as check-up on the 
ms. Cicciaporci really the best editor of Guido. 

In return for my answers to whatever you don't know and I might, I 
suggest you gather any available information re Scotus Erigena, trial of 
Scotus Erig., and his condemnation. Was it merely for some fuss about the 
trinity? Does Gilson know aught abaht it?? Where is Gilson, if he ain't in 

If you (in parentheses) have any poems, send 'em to Townsman 

saying I asked you to do so. They are out for quality not 

quantity, and could, I think, use you. If they don't go bust, they cd. also 
print brief resum6 of yr. beliefs re the del Garbo, if and/or when you have 

Which reading are you dealing with? The one I fuss over or another 

Send me anything you like up to 20 pages. Better, yr. ideas on two or 
three sheets, unless I ask for further light on partic. points. 

Young Danl Corey is workin on epistemology. You might also connect 
with him. His opinions cd. enrich a thesis and concentrate our fire. I don't 
find his address at moment, but you could get him via Criterion (my name 
as introd.). If letter via Criterion don't reach him, I will indaginare his 

The edition of the commentary should of course include reprod. of the 

I shd. think the Italian version shd. also be included. Plus deciphered or 
still better diplomatic printing of the text with all the abbreviations. And an 
English version with notes. 

What about yr. passing thru Rapallo, if various books not in local 

There was a bloody great sprawlin edtn of commentaries, Garbo- 
Colonna-Rossi in parallel cols. Don't seem to be in bookcase and forget 
name of editor. Might trace it if you don't. You do not want it till the end 
of your studies, as it is more confusing than otherwise and not pertinent 
to del Garbo. Good thesis wd. deal with Garbo; a thorough job on that 
would be more use than a wallow in the wake of whoever it was did the 
sloppy correlation of G. with the others. Adding, as I remember it, no 

My preference is for Avicenna. But the early printed editions are more 
likely to retain traces of what the XIII Century thought Avic. meant than 
are modern ones (or one). 


Waaal, son. How'z your Arabic? We can use a Arabiker. Bunt'n gone 
off on Persian, but don't seem to do anything but Firdusi, whom he can't 
put into English that is of any interest. More fault of subject matter than of 
anything else in isolation. 

And so forth. 

341: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo, 17 March 

If you want to plan or want advice, better come on down here. Glad to see 
you in anny kase. As to strategy: 

1. Butch didn't distribute No. 1 promptly. 

2. When you first talked in the year XIV or whenever, the proposal was 
four footed. Dune, Den Thorn., Auden, and Ez. That cd. have tentacled. 
Cutting off contacts, the problem is other'd. If I am to serve the mag. 
instead of the mag doing certain jobs that are useful to me, that is O.K. but 
it is other. 

For instance to get it reviewed, I should have to take a different line. 
Not simply the concrete fact which the buggars won't understand anyhow 
and wd. hate if they did. 

Problem of my rent, also. I cd. put a different end on the Rend Crevel 
article I am getting ready for Criterion. That might catch a few eyes. 

I come back to things effected. There were Gaudier and Lewis, or vice 
versa, plus me. There was before that my then recent headlines in 1909- 
19 10 plus a clear program of three points plus a small nucleus of actual 
poems (H.D., Aldington, one of Bill Williams which were distinct from 
the stuff lolling about in 191 1). 

Neither of yr. warblers have written to me. Mebbe more tactful of Mr. 
Bridge's pupil to not. After all Bridges means more jobs and pay than I do; 
also ils n'aiment/xu les iddes nettes. 

I think the reason I loathe all stage stuff is that it is split. I can stand 
quite bad theatre in the theatre, but when I read Shxpr I don't think of 
stage, I think of people. Anything that asks the reader to think of effect or 
how it wd. be on stage distracts from reality of fact presented. Even if it 
does appeal to the ballet russe or charlotte russe instincts of the bee- 
holder. Means the author not obsessed with reality of his subject. 

Possum, by the way, thought your second scene not up to first. 

After all there were, in London, dining circles or a weekly meeting of us 
and periphery. There was circulation from room to room in at least going 


1938— aetat 52 

conoerns which wrote and published. It was a sort of society or social 
ord- or dis-order. If young men funk that sort of thing, I don't see what 
resonance they can expect; it is sting without sounding board. Admitting 
all the to put it mildly //^perfections of the race of nuvvelists, of teas; but 
to edit, to speak to, to awjgaben, as distinct from meditatin' on the old umbi- 
licus ? ? ? //"that mechanism isn't used by the young they got to invent some 
other. If no donkey cart, a wheelbarrow. 

342: To James Taylor Dunn 

Rapalby 12 April 

Dear J.T.D.: — / — / Also once again: when I am not writing Cantos, I 
do not care a hoot how much I am edited. I am not touchy about the 
elimination of a phrase. When I edit other people, I cut out what I don't 
want. When I am edited, I give the editor similar leeway. That is what 
editing is. The writer provides the ammunition and the editor shoots it 
toward his target. — / — / 

343: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapallo, 16 April 

Waaal Possum, my fine ole Marse Supial: Thinking but passing over 
several pejorative but Possumble — oh quite possumbl — interpretations of 
selected passages in yr. ultimate communication, wot I sez appealin to you 
for the firm's interest, on your return from your Pasqual meddertashuns 

For review copies of Kulch (to git it circd. despite mutilation of the 
title), Criterion better try H. Rackham, M.A., Christ's College, Cambridge 
(England), as he would know somfink about the las' chapter. Tell him we 
spose it is the most careful (his edtn or the Loeb (or Lowebb classics) edtn) 
the Nic. Ethics has had. He would prob. do a damn dull rev.; but as wiff 
Gilson, dull review, but after five years young Bird is put onto the Dino 
del Garbo. 

If Rackham is too stuffy, I spose ole Danl Corey is the only bloke wot 
would think about the more serious passages in the woik. It would have to 
2c 401 


be over a pussydonym cause SantyYanner would sack him if he said any* 
thing good about the book. And speakin of pussydonyms: 

Sei the Maltese dawg to the Siam cat 
' Whaaar\ oh Parson Possum at? 9 

Sei the Siam cat to the Maltese dawg 
'Dahr he sets lak a bump-onna-log. 9 

— / — /To eggsplain about 3 Lat. Poets. I wrote Acquiring, then I gits 
the buk, hence change of venue. However, if you want about six lines, I 
will add 'em to the Golding. Don't bother to ans. this. I can say a woid 
about the Plautus and not sell the other two essays. Thus maintaininyowr 
friendly status with Routledge. — / — / 

334: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapallo, 22 April 

Dear L.B.: You seem to have a good start (Canto I) and to be worried by 
Canto II, lines 1 to 50. 

How much revision do you propose to make in the proofs? How much 
slashing and damning do you want me to attempt? We're not out for 
collaboration and rewrite k la E.P. Is it any use my making definite sugges- 
tions where I see other ways out than those you have chosen? E.g., if in II, 
12 you use 'remain' instead of 'stay,' there are two rhymes for II, 10 and 8. 

Do you often enough take the third of the terza rima and work back to 
the first, or do you clutch and cling to the first rhyme you get and try to 
revise inside that set of rhymes? 

You have very considerably improved the final line of the II Canto 
in revision (ink). 

Page 22, line 2: 'chooses' is better than 'doth choose.' All these 'does' 
and 'doths' bother me. 

Then Canto III runs rather better. 

Also: how nearly exhausted are you with the job? Have you been off it 
long enough to come back fresh?? I mean the time between your last 
looking at it before it went to the printer and now? 

First flaw I hit is also in the original. Question of these similes which 
compare several or many people to one, 'uom,' etc. Whether this is or was 
accepted rather as the French 'on' (as in 'on dit,' which we translate 'they 
•ay') I don't know. It always catches me up, to me a it is perfectly unseeable 


1938— aetat 52 

comparison. I should incline to use a plural on supposition that the reader 
will read your English and only glance at the Italian when in doubt. 

No use my counting the difficulties overcome. At this juncture the only 
thing that matters is those not yet overcome. The question is when to tackle 
'em. I think you ought to finish the job, with the Paradiso. How much 
fault do you want me to find now? How much will it be useful for me to go 
after with hammer and tongs ? ? 

Blast the blighter's syntax: he (D.A.) is all full of backsided clauses, 
etc. You can't shed the lot of 'em. But. . . . 

This Purgatorio is one hell of a job. Can you give me any hint as to 
what can be of most use to you at this time? I think the job enormously 
worth doing. 


I am inclined to say in desperation, read it yourself and kick out every 
sentence that isn't as Jane Austen would have written it in prose. Which is, 
I admit, impossible. But when you do get a limpid line in perfectly straight 
normal order, isn't it worth any other ten? To limber your muscles, get 
out of certain kinks whereinto you have been drawn solely by terza rima 
and the length of the lines, would it be any good your reading Browning's 
Sordello? Have you ever read it? Or Crabbe? And then coming back to 
your verse. 

I hesitate to make definite suggestions re particular words, as it might 
hamper you. One can never emend another man's work, or hardly ever. 
One can only put one's finger on the emenda. 

Would you feel utterly immoral if you used an occasional 8 syllable 
line, where at present you have used fillers? or even 9 syllable? 

I now proceed to Canto IV. 

P.S. I am writing all this because I think people who do not know the 
difficulties of the job will be down on these minutiae like a pack of wolves. 
And the fact that most of 'em won't recognize the merits won't help it. 

345: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapalloy 25 April 

Politess in abeyance, job is too important for me to put on gloves. 
Pardon unintentional asperities. 

Dear L.B.: Your virtues can be left out of this. There are enough of 'em, 
and several most admirable pages. All that counts at the moment is plug- 
ging a few small leaks that could be plugged quickly in proof-correcting. 
Canto I: line 121, Italian misprint, 'mio' should be € noi.' 



Look again at the English from 'before her* to 'melting dew' [11. 1 16- 
121]. 'Melting'??? 

132, the 'esperto' recalls 'POLUMETIS,' Odysseus* skill. Not 
crafty enough to get back. Might improve the 'essayed' and 
Canto II: 32, ' other sail than ' ?? 

37, 1 don't like 'did allume.' Or 

59, ' if that they knew it.' 

63, ??? 'strangers' rather than 'pilgrims'?? Hang the 'even as.' Also 

80, 'did I enlace.' 

94, 'chooses' wd. serve quite simply in place of 'doth choose.' 

106, 'Those who.' 
Canto IV: 3, 'raccoglie,' 'concentrate.' It hooks up with the 'bianco' in 
Guido's ' Donna mi prega' and the melody that most draws the 
soul into itself. Re also line 11. 

13, you might get 'experience' at the end of your line and not 'did I 

25, San Leo usual with cap. L. 

33, the ' to need' clumsy at end of line. 
Canto V: 47, 'even with the' etc. Drat that 'even.' 

62, still worse; ' this my guide.' Damn it all, one does this sort of 
botch at the age of 16. 

1 01, 'did give.' (I am only swatting the 'dids' and 'doths' where they 
have particularly hindered me. In the long run you flow suffi- 
ciently to carry one over them. Thank Gawd fer that.) 
Canto VI: 17-18, 1 know the orig. is 'quel de Pisa,' but it don't stick out 
like 'he of Pisa.' Why not 'the Pisan'? What about dropping 
the 'the' before 'good Marzocco.' Just a blank rest in place of 
unaccented syllable. Perhaps this raises too many questions 
about the convention of metric used. Shakespear did a lot of 
funny bizniz with extra syllables, and it hasn't completely 
bitched his sales. 

36, 'dost consider.' Unnecessary at this point. 

45, orig. *fia* not 'sia.' 'Make' rather than 'be.' More active verb. 

109, 'cruel one* Nasty form; an Elizabethan might personify with 
' cruelty.' Am not sure this fits yr style. 

1 1 4, putt the ' me ' behind the ' befriend ' ? ? 

127, 'Florence' has a hasty squishy sound. 'Fiorenza' or 'Florenza' 
gives one's teeth a grip. 
Canto VII: 24, orig. is not ' daV but ' del ciel.' [sic] ' Of 9 not ' from/ 1 think 
it has definitely different meaning here, not merely an indifferent 

1938— aetat 52 

substitution. Dam's emphasis on these things much greater than 
if Dean of Canterbury were doing it now. Also the 'form* is 
ambiguous, tho not likely to be mistaken to mean 'moved me 
from.' 'Heaven's* virtue seems to me stronger in movement. 
3 1 I dunno whether ' babies' is right; or if it is ' muliebra' (vide D volg. 
eloq.) vurry hard for an ang-sax to deal with swaddling clothes. 
37, 'both followed all the others/?? Possible improvement in word- 
order here? Lower down. 
44, ' ascendy by night cannot be done* ? This improvable. 
Canto VIII: 129, 'pre^io,' I don't know about 'glory' for this. 
Canto IX: 28-60, O.Kay, cheef. This is one of the good ones. 
75, ' like in a wall some crack that it hath got.' Try again. 
Canto XI: 86-7, 'gran disio dell' eccelenza' (private kink of my own) that 
'desire of excelling or beating someone else' is the meaning, not 
the 'desire of perfection.' Our 'excellence' in English is almost 
a synonym with ' goodness.' As the whole poem is one of fine 
moral distinctions, this dissociation is worth making. 
92-3, might be redone. 

94-126, Good, very good. ' Naught but a wind's breath,' etc. 
Canto XII: 3, 'dolce' always a sticky sweet when so translated. 'Gentle 
pedagog'? Giver of easy instruction. Chance for a find, rather 
than taking jujube. 
(Your preceding note [lines 1-2] gives sense of Dant bending in the 
yoke with the other bloke. 

' We moved together 

like oxen 9 (plural) 
The T don't give proper visibility. 

' I went with him bowed; and we were like a pair of oxen* 
The suggestion of original and Dant suggestion^ into leaning over is 
magnificent. You had the amazement at the shadow very well a few cantos 

9, 'scemi' is very colloquial. I suspect the first time it ever got into 
literature was here. It is what nurses and mothers say to small 
children being bad and stupid: idiot, little monkey, you ass. 
Born£; I don't quite know what to do with it: Stupefied, loggy, 
drugged. I don't know where our 'shame' comes from; haven't 
an etymol. die. here. 
21, damn the 'doth spur.' 
Page 137, lines 50 etc.: you can get better order. 'Pay dearly.' These 
adverbs out of place; often as bad as split infinitive. 
(Mad Arachne, just above, is excellent.) 


The half spider already: fine: perfect prose order. 
Page 139, have a go at last ten lines [XII, 82-93], from ' Reverence over 
face/ ' Atti* are, I think, 'movements.' 'Disse' is accented on first syllable, 
I know the vowels and general sound are like 'he said,' but 'saying' would 
throw the line better. Line before, simpler word-order is easy to get. In 
fact, I think this is a passage where you weren't at your widest awake. 

It continues on p. 141 [line 98], 'above the forehead.' Angel wiped it off 
his forehead. 

102, 1 haven't ref. books but Rubicon is over by Rimini. I suspect it 
is again San Leo and not San Miniato. Maybe you have author- 
ity at hand. Rubicon cert, richer in associative value, Caesar, 
etc., than 'Rubaconte.' Don't for garZake take my word for 
this. It is the kind of thing I muddle, and the Rubaconte may 
have nowt to do with Rubicon. 
Canto XIII: 3, very dubious of improvement by 'evil offstrips.' 
50, ' was cried ' rather bothers me. 

76, ' Sage one ' grits my teeth. Damn these ' ones.' ' O du einige jeder ! ! ' 
A joke even among the ' tedeschi lurchi' who have no sense of 
language etc. 
93, damn the 'if that I hear.' Meaning 'if I hear,' 'if I hear that'?? 
107, don't like ' guilty blot.' 
1 19, don't like 'bitter steps of flight.' 
1 1 8, 1 think a good verbal order is attainable here. 
Canto XIV: 10, 'never yet known.' Lines 10 to 16, word order improvable. 
92, if Reno is Rhine, would give better sense of place. I don't know 

that it is; you probably have proper books of ref. 
97, here a lot of chance of simple improvements. ' Good' before Lizio 
not interesting, but ' Harry* Mainardi improved sense of parti- 

103, 'my' not ' mine eyes.' 

104, 'Guido of Prata' gives elision of vowels. Better sound than 

118,' Pagani will do well ' [in place of ' well shall do the Pagani ']. 
122, 'does well to bear no son.' 

126, 'hath our converse.' ' Our converse has.' No need of inversion. 

133 to end, a lot of unnecessary tangles in the order. ' He to me spoke 9 

is as bad as some of pore old Henry Newbolt. The original is in 

natural order. 'He said to me.' ??'By who* or 'by whom/ 'I 

shall be slain by whomever finds me/ Not 'findeth' in any case. 

That is as far as I have got with the grappling hooks. Hope some of this 

is some use to you. Will next proceed with XV to XVII. 


1938— aetat 52 
346: To William P. Shepard 

Rapalhy April 

Dear Bill Shep: I am going thru proofs of Binyon's translation of the 
Purgatorio. I want to reinforce all I said of his Inferno in The Criterion 
(reprinted in Polite Essays). 

Binyon sheds more light on Dante than any translation I have ever seen. 
Almost more than any translation sheds on any original. Gavin Douglas 
and Golding create something glorious and different from the originals. 

I strongly suggest use of Binyon in place of Temple edtn. for introduc- 
ing student to the Commedia. 

Also as Binyon tells me the Hell was a flop from sales side, I think 
Modern Language Assn. should be stirred. Binyon is going on to the 
Paradiso, but the revised edtns. of Inferno and Purg. would be blocked 
and needlessly delayed if some one don't battistrade a bit. 

I expect to whoop in Broletto. Apparently B's Italian friends are saying 
he has got Dante's tone of voice (not the way I should have put it) and his 
English half-wits telling him terza rima is unEnglish. 

347: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapalhy 4 May 

Dear L.B.: Glad you are bearing up. (Yrs. of 2nd inst. reed.) The more I 
look at Canto XVIII the more I am reminded of the soldier's letter in 
'Cantleman's Spring Mate' (ref. 'Dear Ma: This war is a fair buggar.'). 
Here goes. 

Page 207 took all of yesterday's paper. 

30, possible literality. ' Endureth in its matter' gets rid of an adjective, 
always a pleasant act. 'So mind enters desire when possessed' 
more literal. 
Middle page is good. 

49, the scholastics will scalp you for changing 'substantial' to 'essen- 
tial* unless you have an utterly perfect alibi. These are all 
technical terms, nobody can understand them without either 
notes or preparatory study; safest method is to leave 'em as 
Dant putt 'em. 
67, 'get to bottom of reasoning/ 1 daresay yr. version is pretty good. 
78, Mike a big bucket's bottom' wd. get rid of clause 'that were 




79, as to 'against heaven': Uncle Wm. Yeats not being at hand I 

don't know whether this is astrologic retrograde. It don't matter 

113, 'One of those spirits said then' (or 'spoke then'): "Where we 

go." ' No need to invert. 
Then it seems to flow or I get lulled. 
Canto XIX: 35,' begone ' or ' move on.' Literally ' come on.' Which is a bit 

too colloquial. 

1 12, if the line ends . . . ' in want' and the next line begins ' Of God.' 

Quite easy to do this and the original does. Even with a repeat 

for emphasis: 

'I was miserable ', I was a soul in want 
Of God. Here thou seest what my forfeit w, 
Here for greed thou seest I pay my account. 9 

When some one is speaking I think translator has right to at 
least Shakespear's technique and license in the line. 

1 17, 'II monte': I am not sure whether the term 'monte' was already 
current for hockshop. I think there is pawky dig in the word. 
Whether this mount is more specific than ' the mount,' I don't 

119, if you end it with 'down-cast,' I think a more impetuous rhythm 
is possible, and without tangle. And that it suits the movement 
of the original. I won't bother you with my guess for the whole 
line. Danger in my longer emendation is to loseyour tone. Can't 
have change into an idiom that sticks out and falsifies a whole 

123, 'So justice here to earth forces them bend' wd. eliminate another 
damn Moth.' 
Then she rides to page 233. 

106, 'ghiotta' (and the cumulative effect of the original wording) 
seems to me wd. justify a more interesting adjective than 
'avaricious' which I find weaker than 'avaro' anyhow. 'Gold- 
guzzling,' 'swilling.' I know the 'ghiotto' is not the adjective 
attached to Midas in the Italian. I am talking of effect of the 
passage as a whole. And I find your line with 'avaricious' too 
ti turn ti rum ti turn ti turn ti tum. Might even be from that 
blighter Milton. Also it has two nouns chaperoned by two adjec- 
tives: Mr. and Mrs. Gosse in front, etc., etc. Whereas the 
Florentine apothecary has a noun on its own in the front half of 
line ! and the swilling M. in the second half. 

1938— aetat 52 

1 3 1-2, 1 am tempted. Mebbe if I do a pseudo-Chaucerian 2 lines it 
will set you to something in your own key. 

' Before Latona there her nest had made 
Wherefrom she hatched two eyen heveneclere. 9 

Or * of hevene clere.' 

And so to dine. 
It's a grand life. 

348: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapalby 6 May 
Seconde Fytte 

Dear L.B.: Cantos XXIII and XXIV pretty clean; say toothbrush rather 

than rockdrill needed. 

Canto XXIII: 39, 1 very much doubt 'leprous* for 'squama.' 'Scrofula/ 
'King's evil'?? 
Most of this page [269, 11. 28-60] is very good. Browning would have 
liked it, if you don't mind my suggesting this, you being possibly an anti- 

73, 1 wonder if it would be worth putting 'will' in Italics. I think one 
has right to all sorts of printing dodges to clarify or make easy 
the reader's path. 
94, ' Barbagia in Sardegna.' One gets a feel here in Italy for this order 
in place names, even in family names. 'Sardinia's Barbagia' 
don't seem either English or Wop and, worse, it suggests a 
person as much as a place to unwary reader. 
97, again this problem of the 'dolce.' I wonder if a simple 'my 

brother* would be as good here? 
100, what does your commentator say about 'pergamo'? All my 

Dante books are strewed along from London to Paris. 
107, 'avergonate': 'girls' better than 'ones.' I loathe these pronouns. 
The Italian adjective being feminine is translatable by a feminine 
noun. The 'ones' is bad anyhow, and don't translate gender of 
the original. 'Girls,' 'sluts,' etc., all permitted here and all more 
visual than a colourless 'ones.' 
1 28, is your Italian ' sia ' or ' fia ' ? The ' fia ' as printed is infinitely more 
interesting. Suggestion being Christ made in the mass, and 


Beatrice, as theology, made in Paradise. My text also reads 'fia,' 
I won't swear 1 am right, but there is more interest in this inter- 
pretation. Dante's words often contain a precision that one 
passes over. E.g., the 'sanno' for Aristotle as distinct from 
'intendendo' gives one chance to distinguish between cold 
intellect and real understanding. 
Canto XXI V: 4, 1 have meditated on ' eye's pits.' I think you are probably 

28-60, particularly satisfactory To mi son un che quando.' Compli- 
menti ! ! ! And the chances of going flat just there were so many. 

61-93, relapse into inverting. 

69, 'longing's prayer' I particularly do not like. 'Leanness and (their) 
longing they were.' Perhaps a bit Langland, but you have used 
that tone now and again. Heaven knows the reader will welcome 
short sentences wherever you can give him them. 

99 the marshalls are I think more interesting than Wellingtons and 
Bluchers. A 'marescallo' or 'mareschalco' up to at least 1450 
was a ' master blacksmith ' and knew all about horses. // Libro del 
marescallo is one of the jems in the Malatestiana at Cesena. As 
Dant calls Arnaut Daniel 'miglior fabbro,' so here I think he is 
paying a similar honour: The Craft and not the military pomp. 
And the 'fabbro' to Provence would balance. There are several 
of these echoes in the Commedia. The Provencal wherein Arnaut 
speaks and the Spanish suggestion which I noted in my review 
of your Inferno, for example. (Proportional honour to the 
classics.) There is the 'cavalchi' on the first of the terza, to keep 
the illuminated capital effect. In Arnaut the use of several words 

suggestive of the same picture is characteristic. 

All the above are trifling save the 'fia' and the 'master smith' — that I 
should also make smoother by a run-on: 

• . . ' those two 
MareschalchV . . . 

master smiths (etc., rest of line) 

349: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapallo, 8 May 

Dear L.B.: I give you nearly a clean bill and a number of bull's eyes on the 
rest of XXV and XXVI. Some very neat work. The 'sfumature' are so 


1938— aetat 52 

slight that I shall not bother to list them now. I might tome back to 'em 

when you have finished the Paradiso. 

Canto XXV: 113, omitting the 'and' you could keep 'cornice.' I rather 
like it because Dant characteristically uses definite places and 
here the road along the mountain-edge is definitely a cornice — 
word still kept for French Riviera: 'corniche' — and does, I 
think, carry specific picture to at least certain % of readers. 
- Ground beats up ' is good, all the same. 

Canto XXVI: 67, * Highlander' is excellent: in fact, you have got going. 
1 17, the ' parlar materno ' is usually taken to be Provenjal, the mother 
tongue of troubadour art, Sicilian and Bolognese being des- 
cended from it. ' His tongue ' or a change of a syllable. ' Wrought 
better in our mother- tongue than I' would keep your metre. It 
is a trifling matter; I am less sensible of exact number of syl- 
lables than you are; I would be worried if ' cornice,' for example, 
was put where ' ground' is in XXV. However, applause. I 
don't think even old Wubb and Whhosis can hold out against 
these two canti, though c Y a rien que la bfitise humaine donne 
une id£e de l'infini.' I at any rate have never taken in these canti 
properly before. Dust on me blinkin' 'ead ! ! Oh well, when I 
get to som of this Escalina, I will write you on one or two other 
topics, not Dantescan, to give you a breather before you start 
aviatin' through the merrygorounds. I think you have broken 
the back of the difficulty, apart possibly from some of the 
bloomink theology up aloft. Tom Aquin., etc. I forget what 
he and Domenik have to say, but reckon it's teasy. 

Canto XXVII: 1 8, ' accesi ' is ' lit ' and therefore still burning. I think there is 
chance of improvement here: archaic 'brennt.' Sprained accent 
in 'ardent,' 'cerement' and the great number of words ending 

in '-gent' or '-ment,' 'unspent,' etc., 'indument.' 

Magnificent finish ! Utterly confounds the apes who told you terza 

rima isn't English. ' Coppices' is very English. 

Occasionally a word is used. There is an ideogram in one of The Odes 

(sun over horizon) that is used. The beauty here would only have been got 

by using terza rima. I mean your having to use t. r. Lascia dir gli stolti 

who don't see it, and who have been for two centuries content that 

technique went out of English metric with Campion and Waller. Any 

respect for art and any care for the technique is unEnglish in the sense 

your bastardly friends employed the term. 

For XXVIII: Bravo, Bravo, bravo. Nothing to mark, one or two 

queeries. Line 12 'casts' is possible for 'casteth'; I don't know that I prefer 



it. Good emendation or correction that you have made on next page. 
P. 331, printer has used a defective letter 'd' at end of 'checked.' In fact, 
there are no questions, nothing but O.K. repeated in my margin. This part 
of the job is done. Immensely worth doing. 

In Canto XXIX: Nothing a man writing a critical article could find 
fault with unless he were a low crab. However, I am not writing a critique 
but going over the text with a microscope. 

24, 'Eve to rue' might be improved, but I shdn't bother about it 


95, 'even.* 

107, 'has* for 'hath.' Possibly in another position. 

1 14, an ' as ' to avoid two ' so's.' 

These are all too trifling to bother with, and you have spent more 
thought on it than I have. 

I do, however, prefer your 'supreme Hippocrates' [line 137] . . . Milton- 
ism tho' it may be. ... A good one. Possibly whimsical of me. ... I think 
Eliot would prefer your emendation. At any rate we are on ground of 

350: To Laurence Binyon 

Rapallo , 12 May 

Dear L.B.: XXXII starts off rolling and nothing for me to get my claws 
into. Possibly 'my eyes' in line one, saving 'mine eyes' for 93, where I 
think it is right. I believe an opening shd. be as near normal speech as pos- 
sible and a heightened or poetic diction can be slid into later if necessary or 

44 and 46, 1 dunno about 'Gryphon* and 'griped* so near together, 

sound, etc 

48, a 'thus' would seem better to me than 'so.' And at the end of the 

line, I am not sure about sense. I don't know that it is 'all 

things *; ' every good ' would not arouse discussion. 

50, 'brought it to rest' would avoid the 'halted* which don't seem to 

me the verb juste. You might halt a company. Otherwise seems 

intransitive verb. I mean the general feel of it is intransitive. And 

even if captain ' halts' a regiment the sense is ' commands it to halt.' 

63-4, 'strain complete,' 'eyes severe': two inverts. 'Whole of it' 

would avoid the first and I should look for way of ending one 

line with 'severe' and starting the next with 'eyes.' 

94, 1 don't know whether you are stunting with 'very ground.' Seems 
to me Dant means ' true ground,' with rather more emphasis and 

1938— aetat 52 

association of ideas than a philologically correct 'very' quite 

95-6, and I don't know whether the bloomink chariot was bound 'by* 

or ' to ' the bi-natured yannymal. 
Then you do a very neat bit of work. 

105, 'evil living men' seems nearer meaning. 'Profit the evil life 1 

might mean the opposite? ? 

151,1 queery sense in your 'she be owned/ Surely the Italian means 

* no one should take it from her.' 

'Shoot quick glances round (??Verb better than a 'with* for 
Shooting [vividness.) 

154, then you come to the only line of really bad poetry I have found 
in the whole of your Purgatorio. ' But when she rolled on me her 
lustful eye* might be Gilbert and Sullivan. Positively the only 
line that is out of the sober idiom of the whole of your transla- 
tion. Like Omerus he slept. Moderate verb and adjective 
wanted. And may be better order if the 'head to foot* preceded 

* paramour.' 

149, 1 suppose the 'sciolta' means with her clothes undone. J'ai perdu 
ma ceinture, etc. . . 
Canto XXXIII: Very good down to line 81. Beatrice talking in crossword 
puzzles anyhow; so you have done well not to alter the original 
order of the words. The DXV counted as DVX, etc. 
81, I thought 'it' was simple printers' error for 'is,' but even that 
won't take the sense. The seal does not alter the image or figure 
impressed on it. 

' With unaltered image of the seal imprest" 

' Under seal's power 
Takes an unaltered image' 
the unaltered image 

' Takes the unaltered figure on it pressed' 
' Holds an unaltered figure y ' etc. 

Certainly the wax is altered by the figure. Or do you think that 
he means the wax stays wax? In which case the reader needs that 
stated clearly: 

' As wax stays wax under the seal impressed* 
under the form impressed 

* As wax stays wax under the seaVs power 
And takes the figure that the seal has pressed' 


i io, etc., good. Very good. 

121, reverse of usual situation where Italian has gender and English 
hasn't. Dant has cleverly avoided a gender in the simile. I won- 
der whether or not one should say ' would herself ? ? ? In various 
places 'beauty' can in two syllables replace 'fair lady' if you 
want room to turn round. Here it would permit you this and 

more things beside. 

129, 'well-nigh spent' is, I think, definitely bad for 'tramortita.' But 
you may have a good dictionary that justifies it. I should have 
taken it to mean ' wholly petered out,' but am not sure. 
133-5, the 'da essa preso fui' terzet not a maximum. 
136, possible alternative for 'more writing there were more space.* 
All these possible alternatives are unimportant, but sometimes 
loosen up a clutch to consider an alternative. 
Once again my thanks for the translation. And there are damned few 
pieces of writing that I am thankful for. The minute comments are no 
more than noticing a few nutshells left on the tablecloth post convivium. 
Nobody has had such a good time of this particular kind since Landor 
did his notes on Catullus. Or at least I don't think you can find any record 
of it. 

And now, Boss, you get right along with that Paradiso as soon as 
you've stacked up the dinner dishes. Why don't the twins do some work? 
Decadence of the Empire? Banzai, alalia! 

341: To Katue Kitasono 

Rapallo , 10 December 

Dear K.K.: Thanks very much for Cactus I(sland). I have copied the lines 
on Wyndham L. and am sending them to Duncan. I don't yet know 
enough ideogram to form an opinion of the original; and, of course, have 
no idea of its sound. 

I suppose a world of perspective is inhabitable and one of approaching 
projectiles is not. 

Have just seen W.L. in London. His head on duck; he has done new 
portrait of me. You can judge the two worlds when you get a photo of it, 
which I will send when I get one. The Wyndham drawing (done about 
191 2) that I have brought back is better than the Max Ernst that Laughlin 
introduced here circuitously. The Max that I had from him (Max) seven 
years ago is very fine. In fact, it goes away and the other Max approaches 

If I don't send this brief note now, it will get lost in a mountain of papers. 



352: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo, 10 January 

Dear Ron: Didyou kill The Criterion? Wot will pore Robbink doo gnow? 

Who hilled Cock Possum? 
Who bitched his blossom? 

7,' said young Duncan^ 

Sodden anddrunken y 'I bit The Criterion.' 

7,' saidole Wyndham, 
* I bloody well skinned 'urn. 9 

7,' said Jeff Faber, 
'I the worse neighbor 

I tightened the puss-strings* 


353: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo y 17 January 

Dear Ron: As you haven't given me Uncle Igor's address (or, if you did, I 
can't find it) you might forward this. 

The Hall is at their disposal, p&re et fils, for anything they care to do. 
This is a pleasant part of the coast, rains and cold should 'be over in a week 
or so. There is no population and I can't draw money from the air. A fee 
for Strawinsky fils; yes, if it be moderate, //"their glory is strong enough to 
draw a public from Genova or Pekin or Marseilles, they are welcome to the 
total gate receipts. I will splurge away in the Mare 9 and Cuneo is ready to 
go for the rest of the press. Genova papers always have noticed our con- 
certs; before and after. 

As you know the only overhead is the ten lire to porter and the cost of 
programs. This family can cover that as their reward for admission. 



Dear Ron: Will you send on the original of this (the above) to Igor or 
Stanislas (or however he spells it) ? 

Sorry Thompson is Leavising. But can't be helped. I shan't answer and 
it wd.^be^better if some one less de la famille than Drummond could be 
found to do it. 

Peroni very busy.jDon't write even to me. At least nothing but cheques 
reed, for months. 

I don't see that Belgion can start Criterion, nor Read, esp. in view of 
Possum's express remark to contrary. 

What is he (T.S.E.) up to? If anything? 

Thompson can't be worse than Mairet in The Crit. ??? Or can he?? Only 
opinion I shd. like to see is Rackham's (Rackham, editor of Loeb edtn of 
Nicomachean Ethics), but as Morley cut my main point, even that wd. be 
conditioned. Still I could and would answer Rackham with pleasure. Final 
part of Kulch shd. be correlated with my 'Mencius' in summer Criterion 
and the point re difference between Nicomachean and Magna Moralia. 
Which I would go into if asked. 

I can't think of any other controversial ground in the book. The other 
discussions wd. be mostly pointing out the ignorance, such as Mairet's re 
that detrimental Lao Tse and clumsy inance cf. of Arist and Plato to Lao 
and Kung (mere tosh). 

P.S. You could of course invite Rackham, saying Thompson has missed 
the whole point of the book and that his (Rackham's) answer, attack or 
whatever on the final section is the only one E.P. has any respect 
f or . 

354: To Ford Madox Ford 

Rapallo, 3 1 January 

Dear Fordie: Friends of ole Bull 1 is a good idea (I spose yours) for a 

country so lousily low that everything is run on personality. A 

' sort of' Acadimie Goncourt couldbe used as prod to the useless Institute of 
Letters (whereto, as item for the Friends of Yam Carlos, you can say I nom- 
inated the said Yam Carlos within 24 hours of my own admission, but the 
sap-headed nominating kummy tee did not put his name with Walt Disney's 
when it came to the annual recommendations). That body, if seriously 
criticised, Murry Butler strangled and Canby educated or drowned, could 
be useful, at least in getting certain things reprinted. — / — / 

1 Ford initiated 'The Friends of William Carlos Williams' — a circle devoted 
to the discussion and dissemination of Williams' work. 


x 939 — aetat 53 

355: To Hubert Creekmore 

Rapalloy February 

Dear H.C.: Copy of A Lume Spento supposed to exist in Treasure Room, 
Harvard Library (also possibly, but not sure, in Hamilton College 

God damn Yeats' bloody paragraph. Done more to prevent people 
reading Cantos for what is on the page than any other one smoke screen. 

Don't bother about jejune attempts. Nothing worse than digging up all 
sorts of immaturities. Masses of uncollected stuff in unknown magazines, 
also in Italian; nothing yet done with my Italian notes and criti- 

I don't have to try to be American. Merrymount, Braintree, Quincy, all 
I believe in or by, what had been ' a plantation named Weston's.' 

Vide also the host in Longfellow's 'Wayside Inn.' Wall ornament there 
mentioned still at my parents'. Am I American? Yes, and buggar the pre- 
sent state of the country, the utter betrayal of the American Constitution, 

the filth of the Universities, and the — ■ — system of publication 

whereby you can buy Lenin, Trotsky (the messiest mutt of the lot), Stalin 
for 10 cents and 25 cents, and it takes seven years to get a set of John 
Adams at about 30 dollars. Van Buren's autobiog not printed till 1920. 

An Ars Poetica might in time evolve from the Ta Hio. Note esp. my 
'Mencius' in last summer's Criterion. And as to 'am I American': wait for 
Cantos 62/71 now here in rough typescript. 

Literature rises in racial process. No need of letting off steam about 
process. You belong to the human species, you don't have to do anything 
about that; you can't become a kangaroo or an ostrich. Take all known 
family stocks from about 1630 via N. Eng. or Quaker whalers, landing I 
believe in N.J. Could write the whole U.S. history (American hist) along 
line of family migration; from the landing of The Lion, via Conn., N.Y., 
Wisconsin (vide Impact), to Idaho. 

Ole Bull Wms. a mere dago immigrant. Finest possible specimen of 

When are you going to make the place safe for natives} Or to hell with 
safe; when are you going to make it or permit it to be made a fit habitat? 

For Ars Poetica, gorrdamit, get my last edtn of Fenollosa's * Chinese 
Written Character.' Vide my introduction. 

Yes, do better than that squiff, that femme ouistiti and lowest degree of 
animal life (apart from Cambridge Eng. profs) . . . . r. That pamphlet a 

2D 417 


laboratory specimen. Evidence for the condemnation of American teach- 
ing system if ever was one. 

I believe that when finished, all foreign words in the Cantos, Gk., etc., 
will be underlinings, not necessary to the sense, in one way. I mean a com- 
plete sense will exist without them; it will be there in the American text, 
but the Greek, ideograms, etc., will indicate a duration from whence or 
since when. If you can find any briefer means of getting this repeat or 
resonance, tell papa, and I will try to employ it. 

Narrative not the same as lyric; different techniques for song and story. 
'Would, could,' etcetera: Abbreviations save eye effort. Also show speed 
in mind of original character supposed to be uttering or various colourings 
and degrees of importance or emphasis attributed by the protagonist of the 

All typographic disposition, placings of words on the page, is intended 
to facilitate the reader's intonation, whether he be reading silently to self or 
aloud to friends. Given time and technique I might even put down the 
musical notation of passages or ' breaks into song.' 

There is no intentional obscurity. There is condensation to maximum 
attainable. It is impossible to make the deep as quickly comprehensible as 
the shallow. 

The order of words and sounds ought to induce the proper reading; 
proper tone of voice, etc., but can not redeem fools from idiocy, etc. If the 
goddam violin string is not tense, no amount of bowing will help the 
player. And so forth. 

*j|As'to the form of The Cantos: All I can say or pray is: wait till it's there. 
I mean wait till I get 'em written and then if it don't show, I will start 
exegesis. I haven't an Aquinas-map; Aquinas not valid now. 

356: To Wyndham Lewis 

Rapallo, 3 August 

Dear Wyndham: I have buried pore ole Fordie in (of all places) The 
XlXth Century and After. Only hole left. And an inadequate oration as 
they had room for 'under ijoo' and by the day after the day, etc. An I 
think you make a beau geste and putt a penny on the ole man's other eye. 
No one else will. 

Kussed as wuz in some ways, when you think of Galsworthy's England, 
etc., etc. And for ten years before we arruv I spose he had no one else to 


J 939 — aetat 53 

take the punishment from the frumpers. Wuz agin the 'mortisme' of our 
venbl. friend Possum, and in short, virtuous as these things go in a world 
of Gosses, Royal Ace, etc. He did not regard prose as mere syntax. — / — / 

Waaal, I am sorry you wuzn't in Washntn, and I hope you meet Unci 
George (Tinkham) before he gits too tired of it awl. Nothing much else 
vurry paintable, though I can interjuice you to the Polish damnbassador, 
Patocki. Nice chap, but got Polish awt on th walls. 

Why don't you dig up Angold? Nearly as bad a correspondent as you 
or Mons. Eliot. 

Daily paper in Greenwich, millionaire suburb outside N. Yok, open to 
Ez. You might find it useful means of communication with some of the 
pubk if you go over or if you want to print anything there. They favour a 
lit. page by Ez. But the financial prubblum ! ! ! 

Also I onnerstand Barr (Mod Art Mus) is lookin for early W.L. Damn, 
I told you not to waste them drorinz. I might poifekly well have pinched 
die lot, and sold 'em for yr. bean-y-fit. Blue gal reposin at my left. Full of 
characteristics that wd. prob distress you. . . . 

If you see Eliot, take a monkey wrench and find out what the hell 
Morley means to do in N. Y. (if anything save sink into the damnbience). 

There is also a lot of my econ. writing available when young whathis- 
name gets back. I fergit wot you told me about Allen Unwin or why the 
blighters never print me. 

Couple of young lads think them essays ought to be available. Dunno if 
you can turn them onto any deaf ear ? ? ? 

357: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapalh 9 6 August 

Dear Ron: Have just had time to dig yr. Pimp, Skunk {and Profiteer) out 
of mash of papers brought back from U.S. 

Yunnerstand I know nowt about teeYater. Hunks of Shxpr bore me; I 
just can't read 'em. Despite me admiration fer other hunks. 

I think you have made very considerable technical advance. See no 
reason why Dukes shdn't do it. I know nowt about teeyater and dramedy. 
For Dukes it might be called ' Our England.' I think you shd. go find out 
what ole Fordie wuz drivin at; and eschew Mr. Eliot's affected and arty- 
ficial language. I also think you might cut, but don't know where. Some of 
the speeches may be too long. I, at any rate, tend to skip, as in 99% of the 



crap offered by novelists who want to be licherchoor. I read the opening 
half-line of a p. However yr. action does occur, in the harmony of the 
three poops. The language intended to be their cliche is O.K. as that. Butt: 
I can't hear the voices at other times. Ij 'you can cut all phrases that aren't 
alive and all that don't carry on the action. 

Waaal, waaal, it's easy saying that. And so forth. Mebbe it wd. be mostly 
O.K. if spoke on the bleatink styge. 

I enc. note for next issue, if you can stand that. 

358: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo, 2 September 

Dear Swabe: If for any reason postal communications are interrupted, will 
you please correct the proofs of my Cantos, now in press at Fabers? Do 
the best you can, a few misprints in a first edition won't matter, and better 
to get the book through the press somehow than to have it hung up 

359: To Douglas McPherson 

Rapallo, 2 September 

Dear McPherson: There is plenty of room for a new mag. You can see 
from my note in Townsman 'Statues of Gods' why I welcome parts of yr. 
manifesto. I, also, hit that note in Front, a Dutch left paper, some years ago. 

But you must realize first, that the actual output of good poetry is very 
small. I shd. like to see a 16-page anthology (as review of past 7 years) 
possibly as a start for Pan. Were I forced to make one I shd. have to go 
into retrospect as far back as my own Active Anthology and take Bunting's 
'Northern Farmer' and a few other pages of him, plus a couple of 

Angold's satires, which you can find in New English Weekly. 

Plus a few poems by Cummings and a token payment of ten lines quoted 
from my new Cantos, just to show I exist. If you can find six pages outside 
that lot, go to it. 

Note that Ron Duncan has found no poetry; Laughlin has 

found no poetry; Angleton has found one poem of Cummings' which I 
have been able to quote in Meridiano di Roma. Note that people only have 
to make large collections (N. Directions for ezampl) when there is lack of 


1939 — aetat 53 

live material* Vide my Catholic Anthology (same thing) back in 1916. Faut 
de mieux. 

But there is crying need for a small magazine 'like The Little Review of 
1 917-19' that will fight and will include all the mental life of its time. 
Furioso omits polemic so no use for this. Duncan is on this job for Eng- 
land; there is a specific American fight that is not his job. 

First: The only American book that needs reading is Overholser's 

History of Money in the U.S. Were I editing a Little Review 

or were I foreign editor of one on terms such as I had with The L.R. in 
1 917-19, 1 shd. quote the whole 17 points of the Ikleheimer circular from 
it. Ought to be on wall of every schoolroom. 

2: There is the fight both against mercantilism (the syphilis of all 
American univ. teaching, the official fed to all American stu- 
dents) and against the bolshevik, as per Vanguard, Lenin, Marx, Trotsk, 
etc., at 10 cents and 25 cents in edtns of 100,000. Can't efface it. All one can 
do is to show that it is 'old stuff' because of omissions. What is needed is 60 
or 80 pages of selections of gists of the writings of Adams, Jefferson, Van- 
Buren, Jackson, Johnson. Plus such data as Overholser gives. You can't 
run volumes of the founders' series in a small mag, but you can demand 
'em, and damn the lights out of the sons of bitches who aren't getting 'em 
into print, i.e., all these Hist, profs. 

3: There is the specific fight against the dryrot and redflannel in Ameri- 
can letters, all the snotted subsidies, all the official crap. Neither Laughlin 
nor Furioso is doing the job. If the god damned big endowments had been 
founded to impede arts and letters, they cdnt have been much more effi- 
cient. They run to about 97% now. 

If you care to use some of the things Poetry has suppressed in the past 
decades??? etc. Might be of use. 

There is a job to be done, things too small for me to show interest in, 
which are yet a damnd nuisance and no encouragement or help to yr. 

Compare the Phelps, Dillon, Hillyer, whoosis and whoosis, damn if I 
can remember their names, with the men whose point of view is excluded 
from the goddam colleges and subsidized reviews. . . . 

America does not pay me 500 dollars a year and I imagine Williams and 
Cummings get even less for their writings. Is that any use to you young?? 

Re yr. extension of contents: The real work of a time is never done by 
more than four or five people with a fringe of occasional compositions. I 
suspect inclusivity. I think a man can be more use by picking what he really 
believes or wants and delousing his forebears. 

At my age a man has too many olde lang synes. So difficult to kick old 



friends in the fyce when they get sloppy. I have, but very few do. Any- 
how, you are too young to be tolerant. Pick the best from us old buzzards; 
don't load up with tepidities. 

When I go onto a tennis court I don't want the young to send me a soft 
service even if I am the oldest living purrformer except Gustav of Sweden. 
Why shd ! a writer want it soft from young critics? Naturally, a hard ser- 
vice gets a hard return. One wants a hard ball in the court; i.e., pertinent to 
matter in hand. 

360: To Tibor and Alice Serly 

Rapallo y October 

Dear Alice and Tib: Here at least is a 'Flea' that the audience can under- 
stand when sung. 1 

I take it 'hagy' is two syllables in the original, sung to one a. I have put 
two syllables to a in 'god-it,' 'break- the.' For 'break the' you could have 
' break almost all the ' and the ' the ' a mere ' grace note ' ; and to sing ' on the 
in' as a triplet; especially as both 'thes' are on the same note (g). At any 
rate, the thing can be heard, and the emphasis of the singer comes on words 
that take an emphasis of meaning. Also certain almost rhymes in original 
are akin to the English 'bit,' 'with'; 'light,' 'out'; 'floodlight' and 'head- 

No, I had rather you didn't send the sonata to a publisher. I don't see a 
market, I would rather begin with something I am more sure of, i.e., 
where I can defend the setting of words. 

Waaal, thanks fer that nice licherary description of the pleasures of 
travel in Frawnce. D. keeps sayin' 'If I had only known they were next 
door on Lake Annecy. . . .' 

Re Buck Flea: 'Buck' keeps the 'B* of 'bo' and the accent. 'Ram flea' 
might be easier to sing, but not so good for the rise from a to in the first 

1 By god-it was a / buck flea / An the damn thing j bit us 
Dinner time / supper time, / he was always with us. 

Had he eyes this / buck FLEA? / Had eyes like a / HEAD-light. 
Did they GLARE? / Did they flare? / By god like a / FLOOD-light. 

Had he claws that / BUCK flea? / When he came to j BITE us 
He had CLAWS j to break-the walls / on-the inside and I omside. 

Had he belly? / BY god / had he lights and I liver? 
Had a GUT / that would HOLD / all the Danube RIVer. 

1939 — aetat 54 
' BOha' and the mouth closes on ' buCK.' At any rate this is as good as can 
be done in the time. 

The slight changes in duration value of words from one verse to an- 
other are characteristic of folk song and keep it from being monotonous. 
'Ram flea' might get slurred and the meaning lost. You don't say it was 
4 he flea' till the 3rd strophe, but I reckon the male of the species is under- 
stood and that a boha of this natr wuz a buck or, if you like, a iw//flea. 

If you want to send me word for word translation of the original not 
taking any count of the music, I'll see if I can make any improvements. 

In the second and third stanzas 'buck* seems to me better than 'bull.' 
'Buck' and 'bite,' 'light,' etc., make better syzogy than a soft sound like 
//of 'bull.' And so forth. 

I sent you the Siena program? Or did I forget to do so? 

If I get to N. Y. in the spring, we might work up some of my Vivaldi 
reductions. Better stuff for publisher, I think, than that sonata on my opera 

361: To Henry Swabey 

Rapallo, 31 October 

Dear H.S.: — / — / Kung and Mencius do not satisfy all the real belief of 
Europe. But all valid Christian ethics is in accord with them. In fact, only 
Kung can guide a man, so far as I know, through the jungle of propaganda 
and fads that has overgrown Xtn theology. The mysteries are not revealed, 
and no guide book to them has been or will be written. — / — / 

362: To Douglas McPherson 

Rapallo, 3 November 

Dear McPherson: I got up an hour ago with intention of writing to you 
and to Eliot. 

1st to suggest you apply quote from 'Last Oracle' (Swinburne): 
'Not a cell is left to the god/ 
or the Gk.: 'lipate td basilei p£se daldalos 'euli 'euk£ti PHoibos 'eXt 



a. to Eliot re reprinting, etc., etc., which might do for Pan though I hadn't 
thought of that till I got yr. letter. 

If I am to be foreign edtr., I have got to know a lot more about the 
practical running of the mag. I can't be any use unless we are sure of a 
year's run. Printing bill assured. And the possibility of paying a small 
sum for exceptional contributions. 

In case of Little Review: The printing bill was supposed to be assured 
and I had 750 dollars per year, for foreign editing and contributors. It 
went $25 a month to me (i.e., $300 the year) for editing and 450 to contri- 
butors. I was contributor to French issue and to H. James issue. I had the 
choice of half the contents. That latter stipulation I don't now need or 
want. I haven't time nor the conviction on points where I might disagree 
with you. I.e., yr. interest in writers seems to extend further than mine and 
I don't see you jibbing at anything from Cummings, Eliot or whomever 
else I might suggest. It is now you who are seeing the volume of unprinted 
stuff needing publication. 

To be of use as advisor I shd. have to know how many pages per month 
you can print. 32 seems a good number. I mean it is enough for my pur- 
poses. I want for my personal use 2 to 4 pages. I mean I could do some- 
thing with a regular monthly fire of 2 or 4 pages. All got to be calculated 

I ought to be paid for Cantos and what wd. have been Criterion articles 
were the Crit. still in existence. 

Might calculate 2 Cantos and 2 essays a year?? Apart from monthly 
notes or editorial? 

I don't propose to deal with dead matter and negations. In fact, the 
younger generation ought to do the killing and carrying away of corpses. 
I've got my time cut out now for positive statements. My economic work 
is done (in the main). I shall have to go on condensing and restating, but 
am now definitely onto questions of belief. Re econ: I can depute the rest 
to Overholser. Nobody knows what I have done: Brit. Union Quarterly, 
Rassegna Monetaria, etc. It has still got to be diffused, distributed, put into 
popular education, etc. 

I don't think a mag can in 1940 be contemporary unless it faces the ques- 
tion of race. Any mention of Chinamen being different from Sweedes or 
Portuguese will lead to a charge of anti-Semitism. You haven't yet 
answered me on that point. You've got to know where yr. money comes 
from. I knew a McPhairson who marrit a chewish laty, etc. And the pro- 
blem of short term credits keeps several offices mum. Different races 
believe different formulations. 

If I am to be part of the staff, either you've got to be really free, or you 


1939 — aetat 54 

have got to be based on some formula that I can accept. The more we get 
clear before starting, the less time and ink will be wasted later. So far I can't 
think of any disagreement by me to anything you have written. But you 
probably don't realize how much you have left vague. In fact, only with 
age does one realize the degree to which all human expression is poly- 

Yes, the Rev. Swabey is damn good man, one of the Few. But he is a 
curate, and I think he wd. in Pan be better employed on economics than 
on religion. He knows more about it; esp. some of the Church of Eng., 
etc., writings on usury, etc. He set out to teach father Eliot a few about 
Lancelot Andrewes. After all, Pan isn't Xtian, and there are, my arse !, 
enough Xtn publications. Let us have at least 'a page to the god.' How- 
ever, O.K. to have him on Dante vs. Landor; he'd have got $50 from 
Criterion for it. 

The surviving members of the human race are so far as I know (omit- 
ting several that wd. be useless or unavailable to Pan) Ron. Duncan, 
Angold, now in the army, Swabey, Overholser, Cummings, Bunting 
(probably unreachable), Wyndham Lewis (must be paid. Now in America. 
Anything not Hellenic unless Hephaistos be come), T. S. Eliot, despite his 
languors and cats (anglo and pseudo). — / — / 

The minute you proclaim that the mysteries exist at all you've got to 
recognize that 95 % of yr. contemporaries will not and can not understand 
one word of what you are driving at. And you can not explain. The 
secretum stays shut to the vulgo. And as H. Christian said years ago re 
catholics: 'For god's sake leave 'em in there (i.e., church). If they weren't 
in there doing that, they wd. be out here pour nous embeter.' — / — / 

363: To A. B. Drew 

Rapalbj 7 November 

FABERS, Production Dept.: Re yours 1st inst., details of proofs. 

Canto appears in heading where it is intended to be read aloud (if one is 
reading aloud), so please retain it on page 88. 

The one thing that is not wanted is uniformity in lots of places where a 
variant is intended. This also goes for hyphens in Chinese words. No need 



to go into all Lin Yutang has been writing on how to help Europeans 
remember Chinese names. 

Your letter evidently posted before you had got my page proofs. 

I put in the page numbers for the Cantos. The contents is grouped 
under the cantos. Can't very well be sorted out as to pages as the topics are 
frequently spread or used on various pages. 

Page 30: variations of 'can not' are O.K. 

' Ouan soui' O.K., with or without hyphen. Spell it 'banzai* if you pre- 
fer. Sound changes from one dynasty to another. Etc. 

The T5IN can stay as is. 

Likewise ' TAOzers.' I want in every way to get into reader's head I am 
speaking disrespectfully of Taoist. 

French accents: Do please correct them. 

At what degenerate period did an 'E' get into 'aquaduct'? I don't care 
how you spell it. 

' Nutche ' can stay either way. 

On 97: The hyphen certainly stays after 'up-'. That is essential to the 
meaning, though you might add another hyphen after the ) and before 
'held'; sic: *)-held', if you think that is clearer. I dare say the second 
hyphen would be more amusing and clearer: *up-(as they say)-held\ 

109: ' Quarrell \ O hell, put in as many hells as you like. 

Page 125: The Moses Gill referred to, as an individual capable of suing 
for libel, is dead. Of course the race of him exists, but he is both Aryan 
and Sumarian and Palestinian; nevertheless, the race, including its 
Aryan members, is not a person-at-law. If you mean you wish all of him 
were dead, that is up to you. 

134-5: You can use accents as in yr. Frog dictionary and spell him 
Richelieu. Same goes for Seville and £tat. 

P. 1 5 5 : lines 2-3, yes, the repetition is intended. 

157:' erected ' is correct. 

158: you can lard in some lines of three or four dots in the Latin if 

you like. I can't put in a whole page of Cicero's prose at that point. Got to 

172: yes, do as you like; accent and cap. 

Schuyler is dead. Hamilton's god damn father-in-law. Dead for a hun- 
dred years; and if you believe in hell, you are ad lib. to think he rots. 

182: spell 'em as you like. 

Idem 184. 

Don't be 'sorry.' I am truly grateful for the care spent on these details. 

Will get back the remaining page proofs as soon as possible, i.e., as soon 
as I can give 'em due care. They came this A.M. along with yr. letter. 


1939— aetat 54 

364: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapalfay 7 November 

Dear Ron: You complain for specific and general ignorance of India. For 
two dozen reasons I strongly suggest you offer yr. services to the Ministry 
of Information on just that topic. Whether they accept the offer, is their 
lookout. But I hope you will make it. Very few people have any idea of 
both sides. A little clarity could be very useful and yr. having been useful 
cd. be useful later to you. Take my own case. I loathe and always have 
loathed Indian art. Loathed it long before I got my usury axis. Obnubi- 
lated, short curves, muddle, jungle, etc. Waaal, we find the hin-goddam- 
doo is a bloody and voracious usurer. Maybe Ghandi isn't, but nobody 
else has been to see him. From what you told me, I can see separate villages, 
life as of herd of wild animals in Africa: no main structure to the country, 
nothing to satisfy European, Roman, J. Adams sense of the state. You 
might cast some light on that. Mebbe it is agin their natr. 

At any rate, the Rhoosian immolation on machine would seem further 
from their disposition than even red-coated England. And the Bolshie pro- 
fanation of sacred, etc., etc. 

Then for Mohammeds: they are O.K. on usury, but damn'd useless 
again for European man. They had a few centuries, Avicenna, etc. I am 
told: 'Oh yes; that was all non-Mohammedan root, Persia, etc., squsched 
out by their stinking near eastern fanaticism. Sperit that built the Pyramids 
without the constructive sense to build anything. Abstract art.' Vs. which: 
the Alhambra, Taj (by Italian workmen), etc. ? ? ? 

Anyhow, I can see a lot of useful work that you cd. do somewhere 
along that line. You can start as if telling me. I probably can see as much 
as the general pubk. My objection to English Raj? has been that they 
have preserved a lot of the unfit. Bad as eugenics. All of which is prob. 

I knew some nice chaps came with Tagore in 191 1-12, but haven't done 
anything, and Rabi himself poifikly hopeless re statal sense, etc. 

Rushing to post. 

P.S. Abstract better than distortion. 



365: To George Santayana 

Rapallo , 8 December 

Dear G.S.: I, on the other hand, am convinced that Venice is a perfect 
place to pass the winter, but I don't suppose you will have the compla- 
cency or even the inertia to stay there till the 26th inst. or practically 
speaking the 27th. 

You have obligingly finished the opus at the earliest date I cd. read it. I 
have also got to the end of a job or part of a job (money in history) and for 
personal ends have got to tackle philosophy or my 'paradise,' and do 
badly want to talk with some one who has thought a little about it. There 
is one bloke in England, whose name escapes me, who has dropped an 
intelligent aside in a small book on Manes. Otherwise you are the only 
perceivable victim. 

Apart 9a, did I quote T. S. Eliot to ' Old Krore' who was 'surprised to 
see' me at a meeting of the Aristotelian Soc. in, I suppose, 19 16. ' Oh, he's 
not here as a philosopher. He is here as an an thro pologist.' 

The venbl Corey so put the fear of gawd into me re yr. wanting to be 
left in peace to finish the Opus that I had the decency not to introduce 
serious subjects into our first conversation. 

Do give notice if same is likely to be henceforth permissible. There are 
one or two gropings in my notes to Cavalcanti and one or two Chinese 
texts whereupon sidelight wd. be welcome. 

Might tear up the carpet, perhaps along the line: We believe nothing 
that is not European. 

Xtianity is quite lousy with non-European influences but all of it that is 
respectable is either indigenous or put there by hard work from the time 
of St. Ambrose down to the sell-out, when the usurers got hold of the 
papacy and the conclaves no longer believed or even had clear idea of 
their own dogmas. 

I am not insisting. I am wondering how far this is correct. Nuisance not 
to have Migne on the premises as mere reports of Erigena look as if the 
interest may have been painted on by the writers of the reports. Gemisthus 
Plethon's polytheism evaporated when one got near it. 

If I don't get to Venice in time to see you, I hope you (and the volatile 
acolyte?) will get to Rapallo. 



366: To Otto Bird 

Rapallo y 12 January 

Dear Bird: If you are still plugging at that thesis, I think you will find a 
good deal of interest in J. Scotus Erigena, vol. 122 of Migne. 

No use my bothering you with partic. refs. until I know what you are 
doing. Also one ought to read the whole thing esp. the commentary of the 
pseudo-Dionysus. So far I don't find the text backs up various statements 
I have read about Erigena. I want corroborations on various points. Often 
a hurried reading fails to find a 'denegat' at the end of passage. A lot of 
nice ideas start in one's own head that can't be attributed to J.S.E. 

Another point in all study of Patrologia and mediaeval philos or rather 
a whole system of examination is wanted. I suggest you will write interest- 
ingly if you start sorting out the elements as to source or probable source; 
and suggest four categories: 
European (say Greek) 

and North European, Scotus, Grosseteste, Albertus de la Magna, etc. 

My present feeling is that all Biblical influence is merely rotten so far as 
the thought is concerned. Very probably I exaggerate. But justice and 
measure are Roman. The admirable tradition may start with Ambrose and 
last to Antonino. The Greek is fine. The European good. 

Met a bloke who had been in East studying Mohammeds. He said they 
invented nowt. Anything good in 'em derived from Greece or Persia or 
somewhere. This to be taken cum grano and then some. Anyhow, I shd. 
like a sort out of at least two lots of concepts: The European and the non- 

Re Cavalcanti: Erigena certainly throws doubt on various readings: 
./ormato and informzto, etc. I wonder whether lots of copyists didn't each 
emend the text to suit their own views. 

I at any rate have got to digest Erigena and then review the whole 
' Donna mi Prega.' And I shd. like a fellow-traveler. 



Did I send you a few questions re need of a monthly magazine and 
what you cd. do for or about one? 

Is Gilson on the premises? Has he got any hunches re European and 
non-European categories? 

367: To George Santayana 

Rapallo, 16 January 

Dear G.S.: It is good of you to write at such length. Responsus est: 

1. Premature to mention my 'philosophy,' call it a disposition. In an- 
other 30 years I may put the bits together, but probably won't. 

2. Chinese saying 'a man's character apparent in every one of his brush 
strokes.' Early characters were pictures, squared for aesthetic reasons. But 
I think in a well-brushed ideogram the sun is seen to be rising. The east is 
a convention; the west ideogram hasn't the sun in it. Not sure whether it 
may be sheepfold (this guess). 

One ideogramic current is from picture often of process, then it is tied 
to, associated with one of a dozen meanings by convention. Whole pro- 
cess of primitive association, but quite arbitrary, as: two men, city, 
night = theft. 

Not the picturesque element I was trying to emphasize so much as the 
pt. re western man 'defining' by receding: red, color, vibration, mode of 
being, etc.; Chinese by putting together concrete objects as in F's example: 
red cherry 

iron rust flamingo 
Am not sure the lexicographers back him up. 

Sorry you had those grubby pages. A few nice ideograms would have 
reconciled your aesthetic perceptions. 

Have I indicated my letch toward teXne, and do I manage to indicate 
what I conceive as kindred tendency? From the thing to the grouped 
things, thence to a more real knowledge than in our friend Erigena (whose 
text I have wheedled out of Genova) — nice mind but mucking about in 
the unknown. Damn all these citations of Hebrew impertinence or what- 
ever. Erig. had* nice mind, full of light and had perceived quite a lot. It's 
the fussing with nomenclature by absolutely ignorant arguers that gets my 

The decline of the West occurred between the Nicomachean Ethics and 
the Magna (or fat) Moralia. 


I94°~ aetat 54 

I believe the venerable Dan C. was annoyed by the frivolities of my 
Kulch. I don't know whether it wd. serve as better answer to part of yf. 
question than what I can knock out in ten minutes. Not sure the book is 
still in print. Danl might think ill of you if you descended to borrow his 

I am trying to get my American publisher to reprint the 'Mencius.' But 
don't think it contains much more on the present point (or diafana). 

At any rate, Fenollosa has delivered us from the godawful translations 
of Chinese poetry that preceded him. And there is a place where that rising 
sun ideogram in one of the poems in his anthology once and forever is a 
sort of l'alba tan tost ve.' However, this is getting too complicated. 

Next A.M.: Your remark about my remark on 'values remain* being 
dogmatic. Liddell gives 'dogma, what seems true to one, an opinion.' But 
'dogmatikes, belonging to opinions or maxims; maintaining them.' I have 
always had an impression of an 'ought* hanging about the word. I could 
say 'values recur' (or I don't mind 'remain'), but let it stand as an obser- 
vation gathered from particular cases. 

The ole W. of Bab. certainly and for long time has used her dogmas in 
the sense of something the sheep had to accept. Not as any ' seems ' but cer- 
tainly as ' maxim ex cat.', etc. 

368: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapalhy 18 January 

Waaal, naow, me deer protopheriius: — / — / 1 am sorry yew missed the 
outlook from the Palazzo, but it got so goddam cold we emigrated to a 
steam-hot and damn good eatin pension. And don't worrit about more 
money. I kin feed yew for a couple of weeks. And over a decent amount 
you cd. pay up after the war if any. Anyhow, don't stop for a mere matter 
of money. Come erlong fer St. Valentine's day or any other respectable 
Pagan feast. 

I may go to Rome the fust pt. of Feb. I cd. lend you Italian money for 
about a week in Rome. Can't offer that luxury as a invite wiffout fewcher 
recompense, — / — / 

And Spencer has the laffon Bastun; as they fired him, but Cambridge, 
England, wanted him. To which place he couldn't get. Jas sez it is first 
time Cam. Eng. has tooken a prof, from Cam. Mass. So haw, bloody 
hawhaw. Minnethelaughing waters ! ! 


I want a reprint of 'Mencius' as soon as possible. Had a lot of jaw with 
Geo. Santayana in Venice, and like him. Never met anyone who seems to 
me to fake less. In fact, I give him a clean bill. He has a low opnyn of yr. 
ole pal Irvink Babbitt, in which I suspect he is right. 

I have now the text of Erigena, and if I could get hold of the recent pub- 
lications about him, I could write quite a chunk. Not that I am letching to. 
Lot to connect wiff Cavalcanti's poem, if any more is wanted on them 
lines. Or allusions to Dant. 

I shd. start rev. of mod. esp. of Erig. with Schleuter's Latin comment, 
dated Westphalia 1838. A bit special but no/i-political. Johnny Scot. 
'Pietate insignia atque hilaritate.' Johnny had a nice mind. Omnia quae 
sunt lumina sunt. I haven't yet found anything that fits what I had read 
about what he thought, but it may be in the 600 pages double col. Migne, 
vol. 122. 

You ought to be able to get tourist lire if you can come. Have you 
asked about that at the Italian tourist agency in Regent St. ? ? I shd. like to 
know, cause I cd. mention it if I am druv to invite anyone else in yr. dis- 
tinguished place. 

The Yanks are publishing a goddam series on Philosophers, beginning. 
i.e., begun, with Dewey. Santayana second. I could probably chew the ear 
off some of the fatheads. 

Have you got Wyndham's Buffalo address? Why the hell don't the 
blighter write? 

St. Ambrose is one of the blokes I keep on quotin'. However, if his birf- 
day is past, I will have to await wiff anticipation. It is marked S. Vitaliano 
(which looks like a misspelling for 'veal'; let's hope it is a fat calf). I never 
heard of the bloke, but he is on the orphans' calendar. And the 26th Saint 
PaulA (a lady martyr). How confusing your religion is anyhow. 

What is the earliest date you cd. print a prose book? I want the 
'Mencius,' and as Jas keeps selling the Ta Hio regular. ... It would be 
about the same size. Or a trilogy: Ta Hio 9 'Mencius' and a note on Eri- 
gena. Probably about twice the size, depends on date. There is in the 
Zukofsky reprint of the first half of Spirit of Romance a 191 2 note on 
sequaire of Goddeschalk, etc. The soft sort of stuff I then did. Pubd. in ole 
Mead's Quest. Seems such a waste to grind out new prose when there is 
such a lot of my stuff out of print. However, the mature emissions of a 
superior mind, die riper, the juicier, etc. — I get that angle also. I don't feel 
ready to knock off 'The whole of Philosophy' in six months. 

There is alius Claudius Salmasius' De Modo Usurarum. A serious 
author. And I have a Sextus Empiricus on fhe lot. Nice style. Voltairian 
finish. George nigh bust when I said I cdn't get a copy of Scot. Erig. but 


1940— aetat 54 

, -4A managed to get a Sextus. Wot wiff ideograms and all, George is trying 
t ( see the connection. I have fed him the Cavalcanti and all is nice 
;, :d cordial at the Hotel Daniele. In fact, if you were still an American I 
night propose a triumvirate. As copain I prefer him to some of yr. 
Dlerated. — / — / 

369: To Katue Kitasono 

Rapallo, 22 January 

Dear K.K.: I have you to thank for a very elegant volume. The drawings 
100k as if an occidental influence had entered your life. 'Decadence of the 
Empire.' All I now need is a translation. As the poems are very short, don't 
bother to make it literary. If I had a literal version I might possibly put it 
in shape. Can't tell. Only a fraction of poetry will translate. 

Did you use that bit of Jap. Times as wrapping on purpose? Or is it 

coincidence? First thing I see is 'leg conscious Japan' which reminded me 

s/f Ito's first remark to me in 19 14 or '15: 'Jap'nese dance all time over- 

oat.' Then I notice the ineffable Miscio in person, but not in voice, save in 

iie remark on the fan dance and Sally. 

I believe I could have done a better article on Ito than the J.T. inter- 
viewer. Did you meet him? The paper is dated October and says he was to 
return to America in Jan., so this is too late to serve as introduction, but if 
he is still in Tokio, give him my remembrances. I looked for him in N. 
York, but he was then in S. Francisco. 

Mr. Masaichi Tani writes very good English, but he has missed a chance. 
His girls will have to be patriotic and ' use Japan Knees ' — whatever foreign 
clothes they obtain. 

If you do meet Miscio ask him about ' Ainley's face behind that mask,' 
or his borrowing the old lady's cat. As to the photo in the J. 71, 1 can't 
believe even Hollywood and facial massage has kept him 18. Not 25 years 

Do you know whether the/. T. is being sent me? It doesn't get here. 

P.S. Did you see the Hawk's Well — is it any use in Japanese? 

370: To T. S. Eliot 

Rapalhy 1 February 

To the aff bl Protopgerius Wunkus: Gittin down to thet book. There is, so 
far as I know, no English work on Kulturmorphologie, transformation of 
21 433 


cultures. Can't use a German term at this moment. Morphology of cul- 
tures. Historic process taken in the larger. 

I know you jib at China and Frobenius cause they ain't pie church; and 
neither of us likes savages, black habits, etc. However, for yr. enlighten- 
ment, Frazer worked largely from documents. Frob. went to things, 
memories still in the spoken tradition, etc. His students had to see and be 
able to draw objects. All of which follows up Fabre and the Fenollosa 
'Essay on Written Character.' 

There is a book of patient, and How, explanation to be done on this to 
get (in 80 years) it into the universitai head that history did not stop, 
better say historiography did not cease developing methods of Gibbon or 
ape or whomever. 

Naturally history without monetary intelligence is mere twaddle. That 
I think I have conveyed to you by now? ? But I bayn't sure you have grosp 
the other element in the growth of historiographic teXne. I should use both 
that distance from Nichomachean notes to Magna Moralia, along with 
various categories of Frobenius. 

That I cd. start on now. I don't think I am ready for an analysis of 
Christianity into its various racial components, European and non- 
European. Think I should approach it in such a book — natr of belief, etc. 

Note that I shd. claim to get on from where Frobenius left off, in that 
his Morphology was applied to savages and my interest is in civilizations 
at their most . 

By way, ole pot-belly Wells writes me there is something in a book (on 
second reading evidently it is his book) (or Work) Wealth and Happiness 
of Mankind. Seems incredible? Unlikely I can get a copy here or that it is 
sold at reasonable price or that he would ever get down to the brassier 
variety of tacks on any subject. Have you or Swabey or anyone ever seen 
or heard of the volume ? 

371: To H. G.Wells 

Rapallo, 3 February 

Dear H.G.: By a miracle I have got hold of yr. Hay Stack or serial review 
of the Encyclopedia Britannica (an uncertain work). 

Waaal, you are pretty messy. Tho' you have some points in your sum- 
mary of some one's book on P. Morgan. And one clause re money detach- 
ing people from soil and responsibility to same. 


1940 — aetat 54 

And as luck wd., I find you being merely the conceited half-baked J. 
Bull on p. 337. You may, if drunk, have chanced on a hysterical female; I 
have spent a deal of time in Italy and never seen a servant struck, tho' the 
barboy aged 16 did knock down the head waiter for a fancied impoliteness 
on the part of the latter. Backward countries me arse ! ! 

I have also seen two females in combat in Kensington back street with 
admiring throng of refeen'd lower clawrs henglish and a comic male 
(about yr. build) telling one of 'em, the winner, 'You 'adn't orter strike a 

First observations in re way you avoid 'all the real authors, or at any rate 
so many of 'em. No sign of Chas. Beard, for example. Naturally you are 
weak on Doug and Gesell because English do not read books by men 
younger than themselves or published after their own debuts. Butchart's 
Money would do you a world of good. But you cdn't have had that in '32. 

Nevertheless if you are ass enough to consider Keynes a reliable writer, 

Khrrist and all help you. I think what it comes to is that you 

'established' guys never crab or mistrust any other Britisher who is in the 
gang. Krhhist, do you have yr. reading picked for you by the Times Lit. 
Sup.?? Keynes on H.C.L.: ' caused by lack 0/labour.' In my hearing. . . . 
An orthodox economist. 

Of course, it ain't all yr. fault. Criticism is hard to get. I have had jive 
real criticisms. I doubt if you have fever sought any. 

If you wd. start any chapter with a definition (or the book) — with the 

definitions of the terms you mean to use No. Damn it, you use a good 

phrase and then you flop; you muff. 

I don't at p. 348 see you facing the price gap. And Keynes is a louse, he 
is the kahal incarnate. And phrases such as 'no other way' show incom- 
plete knowledge. — / — / 

Oh, hell, I've a vol. of Beard and another by Corey (with some facts in 
it). Is there any use my reading yours? I am not being paid to review it 
eight years late. I have no indication that anyone ever has criticized it 
seriously to you or that your idea of criticism is other than the English 
current idea, i.e., part of publishers' advertising, a 'review* by some 
Jackie S. who is paid to review it, because the publisher takes so much 
space (adv.). 

But for affection's sake, I will read the damn thing carefully if you wd. 
like a careful criticism of some of the sloppy paragraphs. 


372: To George Santayana 

Rapalby 6 February 

Dear G.S.: Faber (the publisher) wants to know whether you would con- 
sider and on what terms you would consider, etc., a desperate attempt to 
save further generations from the horrors of past education. 

All of which arises from my transmission to Eliot of your little story of 
Henry Adams 'It can not be done.' 1 Plus your further remark, 'It doesn't 
matter what so long as they all read the same things.' 

The proposal is, if not beneath your dignity, and with the aim of getting 
out of our usuals, that you, Eliot (T.S., not his late cousin) and the under- 
signed should each, with malice or without, enjoy ourselves setting down 
either a method or a curriculum or both. 

I don't imagine that we have any readers in common. We are regarded 
as the three Europeans of American origins or what not, or at any rate 
those who got out alive. 

I had no such designs on your quiet when I entered the Daniele. I know 
that it savours of revivalism, etc. 

On the other hand the shock of such a symposium. 

Or as Eliot writes, 'It is he (namely G.S.) who adds just the spot of 
respectability that makes (his phrase; I shd. say 'would make if,' etc.) the 
book queer whereas if you (E.P.) and me (T.S.E.) didn't have him I don't 
say we couldn't make the book just as queer, but the public wouldn't be 
so surprised.' 

I plead the missionary sperrit: guilty ! ! 

I don't see why it shouldn't be as good or better a place to answer your 
critics (in that philosophical symposium) as any magazine, etc. could or 
would offer. I do think it is an implement to carry your philosophy to 
readers who wouldn't normally read a volume labeled philosophy. 

Faber is rushing ahead with 'Has he an agent here (London)? We 
would want to handle American rights.' All of which seems to me pre- 

It is, hang it all, a chance to blast off some of the fog and fugg. I can see 
Eliot's reason and my reasons for welcoming the chance much more clearly 
than I can see why you should be bothered, but then on the other foot I 
don't see why you need be very greatly bothered. 

Conjecturally you would regard curriculum or method as arising from a 
philosophic root, a scheme of values, and all you need do is attach a para- 

1 Le., teach at Harvard University. 

I94°~ aetat 54 
graph to that effect to whatever you happen to be writing. With as much 
or as little pugnacity, etc, venom or benevolence as the mood of the day 
dictates. Hell. Possum and I can't be as stuffy as some of the blokes now 
engaged in symposing on your beliefs. And the company would either 
excuse a lighter tone or give salience to a greater gravity and suavity of (?) 

'What the exceptional y.m. ought to have the bare chance of learning in 
a university che si rispetta.' 

Length, amount, etc., would, I take it, be for you to dictate. Eliot and I 
to fill in whatever you chose to omit. My emphasis would be on econo- 
mics, history, letters and possibly music. With my 'Mencius' essay either 
in the vol. or implied. 

I have no idea what Eliot would do, except that he agrees that the 
blighters should define their terms before spouting about this and the 

Have I been clear? Faber invites a volume or triptych or however you 
spell it: G.S., T.S.E. and myself on the Ideal University, or The Proper 
Curriculum, or how it would be possible to educate and/or (mostly or) ' 
civilize the university stewd-dent (and, inter lineas, how to kill off bureau- 
cratism and professoriality). 

The Henry Adams anecdote is above price: it is your story and ought to 
be in the opening pages if not the opening paragraph. Anyhow, the idea 
arose from it. 

I don't know what more I can say other than one more citation of 
Eliot's letter re the Faber committee: 'They say that it ought to be a very 
queer book and it appeals to them.' 

373: To Henry Swabey 

Rapalloj 7 March 

Dear Swabe: You better twig the manifesto of the American Catholic 
Bishops and step on the gas. It covers a good deal, and yr. own pot- 
bellied bastid piscops are left at the post. 

Don't bother re Wells. Have seen the book and had several notes from 
H.G., adorned with portraits. Reckon he never has and never will define 
anything. All his words indefinite middles. 

Know nowt about Java or sadica marriage. What is? 

Re European belief: Neither mass nor communion are of Jew origin. 



Nowt to do with that narsty old maniac JHV and are basis of Xtn relig. 
Mass ought to be in Latin, unless you cd. do it in Greek or Chinese. In 
fact, any abracadabra that no bloody member of the public or half-educated 
ape of a clargimint cd. think he understood. 

The Cat. Bishops' manifest vurry long-winded. 

What I meant re Doug was that there has been an absence of practi- 
cality, absence of consideration of means whereby state wd. arrange to 
compensate, etc. All par with the bloke who wd. just neglect to get logs 
for the raft. Everybody (especially the derating) dodging the job of doing 
it on the spot; in the place where they are. Hence, I spose, 151 votes vs. 1 5 
thousand or whatever for some labour faker. 

Glad of any good dirt on Tom Aquinas. A bad influence. Wrong type 
of mind. 

374: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo, 14 March 

Dear Ron: On receipt of yrs. I promptly sat down and wrote you an 
article, but this A.M. it seemed too dull to be worth the postage. 

I cd. pretty well swap my motto (see above) 1 for your 'No taxes before 
the harvest.' That is yr. best line out of four. I approve the aim of the 
others, but in practice some provision had to be made of the centre. Nine 
fields system is O.K. 

If you review Cantos and if Swabe does a comparison of the manifesto 
of the American Catholic Bishops' 68 points with the Papal Encyclical and 
with my What is Money For? that wd. prob. be better than any more of 
me. In other words, I am getting to age where at bloody last I occasionally 
wonder whether I don't talk too much ... or at any rate to stop and ask 
meself : is it useful to say this or that ... at a particular time. 

I started yesterday's note with a line I had cancelled in ms. sent Swabe 
. . . but!!! reaction to remarks by other contributors, etc., etc., isn't 
printing matter. 

Mass and communion not Jewish in origin. . . . What's use my saying 
that especially as I have not studied the Mass and am not absolutely sure 
what mightn't be tucked into it. Anything I said to Swabe can stand. 

I suppose Austin is a pussydonym. Good poem. 

1 Pound's stationery bore the following sentence from Mussolini: 'Liberty is 
not a right but a duty.' 


1940 — aetat 54 

Christianity is (or was when real) anti-Semitism, etc. What is the use of 
arguing (my arguing) with undefined terms. At any rate, I am off impro- 
visations; at least for, I hope, a week or two. 

Looks to me as if you had jazzed up Mr. Eliot's drumatik technique by 
having more to say. Rien ne pousse a la concision comme l'abondance 

Less the Bible is used for reading matter, better for Europe. If a race 
neglects to create its own gods, it gets the bump. Borrow yr. gods from a 

central bank and naturally you end in slavery and in moral 

and degradation. Would be mere waste of print to yatter about this. 

The Cat. Bishops have assumed responsibility. Don't leave 

room in a urinal for the Anglicans or Arch-bs. 

Protestantism is a usury politic. Well, not wholly. Believe Luther was 
against usury, and was anti-tax, at least agin sending tax money out of the 
country. What the hell is the use writing a dull article. No use my going 
off half-cocked on large subjects whereon I have not yet arrived at con- 
clusion. Nothing in this note is ready for press. And to rewrite old articles 
makes boring copy. 

The place to defend England is on the land. I am with you there. 

Haven't you left a flat out of the miserere stave? 

Don't worry about the mysterium. There is plenty left. But not a sub- 
ject for polite essays. To hell wiff Abraham. Most of the constructive so- 
called Xtn ideas are out of the Stoics. In fact, I should suggest that all 
'Christian decency' is sheer stoic. I doubt if any single ethical idea now 
honoured comes from Jewry. But either one has got to do a Quarterly old 
style 20 page, down to the bottom based on 40 years continuous study, or 
let such a subject alone. At any rate, I have only finished my historic econ. 
section a year ago, and don't want to make wild statements. Questions no 
good at this time. Need all the circumjacent intelligence for immediate 

Damn it all, I am a poek, partly a musician, i.e., in one corner up to a 
point, and a economist. I can't become an authority on another dept. in six 
weeks or even six months. Time is past for me to do interim stuff, and ex 
cathedra? NO. 

Speculation is one thing; dogma another. And I don't think it oppor- 
tune to print speculation at the moment. May change my mind next week. 
I mean for me to print it, or write it for print. O.K. for you to dramatize. 

Tempus tacendi. I don't know how long it will last. Might be a beautiful 
object lesson to Porterhouse (H. G. Porteus). 



375: To Sadakichi Hartmann 

Rapallo, 20 March 

Dear Sadakichi: Two years ago I was elected to what I first heard H. James 
describe funereally as * a body. 9 

Naturally, they don't like it, but by dint of abuse the treasurer has 
printed a report reed, here this A.M. They are pouilleux with money. I 
mean from our sized view, not from the N. Y. view. Anyhow, they have a 
relief fund, not more than 500 a year to any one person. 

Some of the painters may not be as lousy as most of the writers — never 
heard tell of most of either — but if you know some nice influential mem- 
bers, I see no reason why they shouldn't give milk. I can only think of two 
other qualified recipients; one may be dead and the other proud. 

The sekkertary, oh Joy, is old Canby. But they say he ain't gotta bad 
heart; Seidel is at least a convivial sound. On the strength of the oysters to 

Walt (who died before the body emerged from the of time) 

you might git a sandwich. At any rate, this action is prompt. 

376: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapallo, 30 March 

No, Ron: Chinaman not so simple as all that. Central field had to be 
ploughed, etc., and cultivated first. That job done, each of the eight 
families cd. attend to its own. Naturally any five or seven of them famblies 
wd. keep an eye on the one or three that did not do its stunt or stint of work 
in the ducal or state field. In fact, the mechanism for law enforcement right 
thaaar on the spot. 

There was commutation to a tenth, for urban or at least for court, i.e., 
metropolis-capital city area. 

Mencius remarks that reduction to 1/20 means return to 'dog and camp 
fire' state of society whereas above i/ioth or 1/9 is oppression. Bureau- 
cracy, etc. — / — / 

As to tax on non-cultivated land: why not go fascist'and merely cul-ti- 
vate the damn land when the owners of latifundia fail to do so? 

All taxes or fixed charges are from hell. A division of fruits is the proper 


194 — aetat 54 

mode. Tax on non-fruitful houses, libraries! pictures no use. It ends with 
everything in Lazard's cellar. 

Tax? In money? Who issues the money?? The answer is cultivate the 
land; right of ownership shd. imply obligation to use. Ownership is a legal 
construction made by law and custom, not by geology. If you tax the 
Marquis, he merely borrows money; been goin on since days of Eliz. 
Farming out estates, etc. Invite the buggah to cultivate. If he don't, the 
county, township or whatever executive division, goes in and cultivates. 
Tax is merely a shifting of money, usually for sake of paying bugrocrats' 
salaries. It creates nothing. 

A tithe; meaning share of the FRUITS, not fixed charge, a percentage. 
An assurance to worker that if he produces he won't starve. Ammassi. If 
necessary. Have you got the Am. Cat. Bishops' manifesto? 

As to teeyater: I dunno nowt abaht teeyater. Seems to me one needs a 
total social revolution before one can set up real festivals of any kind. 
Drama religious, but not costume historique. Essence of religion is the 
present tense. 

Something might be done with fact (I mean seems to me fact) that 
Catholic church is not a stasis. I doubt if any modern Cat., stupidest priest 
in swamp village, believes the god damned muck that St. Cyril believed. 
All this damn near eastern squish is dead mutton, forgotten. Ordinary 
Cats, have no idea what Church once meant. Whether Roman Church can 
adjust yet again to what anyone really believes is another question. Angli- 
cans don't believe. 'Interferes neither with man's politics nor his religion.' 

377: To Ronald Duncan 

Rapalby 31 March 

Dear Ron: — / — / Blasted friends left a goddam radio here yester. Gift. 
God damn destructive and dispersive devil of an invention. But got to be 
faced. Drammer has got to face it, not only face cinema. Anybody who 
can survive may strengthen inner life, but mass of apes and worms will be 
still further rejuiced to passivity. Hell a state of passivity ? Or limbo?? 

Anyhow what drammer or teeyater wui, radio is. Possibly the loathing 
of it may stop diffuse writing. No sense in print until it gets to finality? 
Also the histrionic developments in announcing. And the million to one 
chance that audition will develop: at least to a faculty for picking the fake 



in the voices. Only stuff fit to hear was Tripoli, Sofia and Tunis. Howling 
music in two of 'em and a cembalo in Bugarea. 

And a double sense of the blessedness of silence when the damn thing is 
turned off. 

Anyhow, if you're writin for styge or teeyater up to date, you gotter 
measure it all, not merely against cinema, but much more against the per- 
sonae now poked into every bleedin' 'ome and smearing the mind of the 
peapull. If anyone is a purrfekk HERRRRkules, he may survive, and may 
clarify his style in resistence to the devil box. I mean if he ain't druv to 
melancolia crepitans before he recovers. 

I anticipated the damn thing in first third of Cantos and was able to do 
52/71 because I was the last survivin' monolith who did not have a bloody 
radio in the 'ome. However, like the subjects of sacred painting as Mr. 
Cohen said: 'Vot I say iss, we got to svallow 'em, vot I say iss, ve got to 
svallow 'em.' Or be boa-constricted. W 

Who publishes the Chinese farming book? Any use to me? I am too old 
to git out and plow, and besides all the fields here are terraced and worked 
by spade. However, I shd. purrfurr it to fishing; I ain't no piscator, not Ez. 
I thoroughly believe in plowin'. I have heard that to sail coastally or plow 
you fix yr. eye on a distant point or two points in a line. Anyhow, I can't 
plow till they make me a emperor, and no continent's yett bidding fer me 
soivices in thet line. 

Of course Sweeney would be O.K. on stage. I think probably all 
dramatic writing makes a theatre; sets the scene, etc. That may be test of 
its being dramatic. Whereas undramatic writing needs a stage. 

P.S. Bottrall'll do as good a review as anyone except possibly Possum. 

378: To Tibor Serly 

Rapallo, April 

Dear Tib: Helluva job to get a complete set of programs. Only people who 
I care about having advertised are O.R., Munch (who has just hit die high 
in Germany: 'one of the best if not the best pianist'), you, and the 
In main outline: 

1 June 1933: Mozart sonatas as per program sent sep. cov. 12 sonatas 
for violin and piano. The rest done privately so that a